Regional News Archives for 2022-03

ODOT Sweeps 16 Homeless Camps

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Department of Transportation has started clearing several homeless camps in Salem, including one where four people were killed in a crash last Sunday. On March 17th, ODOT posted eviction notices at 16 properties. Campers were given ten day's notice to leave. ODOT will store personal items for 30 days. Oregon State Police troopers and community advocates for the homeless were on scene during the cleanups.

OR Secretary Of State Releases Violent Extremism Report

(Salem, OR) -- A report from the Oregon Secretary of State says more can be done to reduce the risk of domestic terrorism. It says Oregon is one of 16 states that doesn't have legislation defining or criminalizing domestic terrorism. The Oregon Homeland Security Council needs to establish a statewide strategy for countering violent extremism. And, the report calls for better law enforcement training to identify potential threats. Over the last decade, Oregon has reported the sixth-highest number of domestic extremist incidents in the nation.

OR Reports 24 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 24 new deaths related to COVID-19 and 387 new cases. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. Over the last week, new cases declined 21-percent, hospitalizations declined slightly and the number of deaths increased by nine. The test positivity rate is two-point-seven percent.

Multnomah County To Open New Homeless Shelter

(Portland, OR) -- Multnomah County is planning to open a homeless shelter in the central eastside industrial area in Portland. A real estate developer is fighting it. The shelter would house 125 women. The site was used as an emergency shelter during the winter. The Central Eastside Industrial Council sent a letter to the county asking it to reconsider. They want more input and raised concerns about zoning. The county says their work has complied with all laws.

Deputy Rescues Pregnant Woman From Sinking Truck

(Hillsboro, OR) -- Washington County Sheriff's deputies rescued a pregnant woman from a sinking truck after her boyfriend allegedly abandoned her. Deputies were pursuing the truck after learning it was stolen when the driver went through a field and crashed into the Tualatin River. The driver then swam to shore and ran. The suspect's girlfriend didn't know how to swim. A deputy jumped into the river and rescued her. She was evaluated at a hospital and wasn't injured. Police are trying to find the driver, Jonathon Laura.

10 Year Sentence For Throwing Molotov Cocktails At Police

(Portland, OR) -- A man who pleaded guilty to throwing Molotov cocktails at police during Portland demonstrations in 2020 is being sentenced to ten years in prison. Malik Muhammed admitted to making several explosive devices and buying bats for demonstrators. Muhammed lived in Indianapolis and traveled to Portland to take part in the demonstrations. He pleaded guilty to 14 felony charges. His sentence also includes paying 200-thousand dollars in restitution.

Study: Four-Day School Week Lowers Math Scores

(Undated) -- Turns out, a four-day school week can have a negative effect on students' grades. A study out of Oregon State University found that high school students on that schedule did worse on standardized math tests than those who attended class five days a week. Math seemed to be the only subject with such noticeable changes as reading scores were similar.

Studded Tire Season Ends March 31

(Portland, OR) -- Drivers in Oregon and Washington have until Friday to get studded tires off of their vehicles. The studded tire season runs from November 1st through March 31st in both states. Studded tires cause millions of dollars in damage to roads, which is why the season ends when winter weather is over. Violation of the law can bring a 136 dollar citation in Washington and nearly a 200 dollar fine in Oregon.

OR Reports 42 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 42 new deaths related to COVID-19 and 351 new infections. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. There are 111 people hospitalized with coronavirus statewide, which is seven less than on Monday. There have now been seven-thousand-115 deaths and 703-thousand-465 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon since the pandemic began.

Timberline Lodge Releases New Master Plan

(Government Camp, OR) -- Timberline Lodge is releasing a new master development plan that includes a gondola from Government Camp to the lodge. RLK and Company, which owns Timberline Lodge, recently bought the Summit Pass ski area. The plan calls for new parking and roads at Summit Pass with a gondola running year-round to Timberline Lodge. It will help reduce parking and traffic congestion on the highway to the lodge. The plan still needs Forest Service approval.

Indiana Man Pleads Guilty To Protest Violence

(Portland, OR) -- An Indiana man has pleaded guilty in a Portland federal court to committing violence during demonstrations. Federal prosecutors say Malik Fard Muhammad traveled to Portland with his girlfriend from their home in Indianapolis to violently engage in riots. Muhammad is accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at police, providing baseball bats to demonstrators and breaking windows on buildings. He also allegedly trained extremist groups in Louisville, Kentucky. Muhammad pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing unregistered destructive devices.

OR Reports 39 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 39 new deaths related to COVID-19 and 541 new cases since Saturday. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. There are 118 people hospitalized with COVID statewide, which is 15 less than on Sunday. There have now been seven-thousand-74 deaths and 703-thousand-132 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon since the pandemic began.

Robot Guard Dogs At Portland Air Base

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon National Guard is testing robot guard dogs. The robots have four legs and walk like a dog. They patrol the perimeter of the Portland Air Base. If they spot an intruder, the person running the robot can talk with the person while security officers are dispatched. The robot can walk up to seven miles on a charge. The robots are made by Ghost Robotics.

Wyden Supports Biden's Billionaire Income Tax

(Washington, D.C.) -- Oregon Senator Ron Wyden says President Biden has put forward a solid proposal to make sure billionaires pay taxes every year. Wyden previously proposed his own version of a Billionaires Income Tax. He says there are differences between his plan and the President's, but they both accomplish the same goal. He plans to work with the White House on creating a version of the Billionaires Income Tax that can make it through Congress.

Victims Identified In Salem Homeless Camp Crash

(Salem, OR) -- Salem Police are releasing the names of four people who were killed when a car crashed into a homeless camp early Sunday morning. Police identified the victims yesterday as Jowand Beck, Luke Kagey, Joe Posada III and Rochelle Zamacona. Two people who were injured and remain hospitalized are Derrick Hart and Savaanah Miller. The suspect,Enrique Rodriguez, Jr. remains in custody and charged with four counts of manslaughter.

Several Shot During Street Racing Event

(Portland, OR) -- Several people are wounded following a shooting that happened during a street racing event in North Portland. Police say the group had gathered on North Marine Drive in the industrial area early Monday morning when over 100 shots were fired. Four people were taken to hospitals in private vehicles. The youngest was an 11-year-old boy who was either shot or suffered a shrapnel injury. All of the injuries were non-life threatening. One of the shooting victims, 21-year-old Adrian Ramirez, was identified as a suspect and was arrested on several charges. Police believe there could be additional victims and suspects.

Portland Street Response Team Expands City-Wide Today

(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Street Response team is expanding city-wide today. The program sends an unarmed team comprised of a firefighter paramedic, a mental health counselor and a peer support responder to respond to non-life-threatening behavioral and mental health crisis calls. The program started in February of 2021 in the Lents neighborhood. Starting today, it will cover 145 square miles from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a full staff of 20 members. A study released last year from Portland State University found that during its first six months, the Street Response Team was meeting its goals.

TikTok Video Shows Reed College Professor Making Racist Remarks

(Portland, OR) -- A Reed College professor is facing backlash after a video on TikTok appears to show him making racist comments at a local business. Internet sleuths identified Paul Currie as the man seen in his car arguing with the person recording. During the video, Reed appears to be criticizing a business for hiring what he believes are "illegal immigrants." College officials acknowledge the video depicts a faculty member, and they are investigating to see if the person in question violated Reed guidelines.

Man Arrested For Crash That Killed Four Killed In Homeless Camp

(Salem, OR) -- A man is facing charges after allegedly crashing his car into a homeless camp in Salem, killing four people. Police arrested 24-year-old Enrique Rodriguez Jr. on several charges yesterday following his release from the hospital. Those charges include four counts of first-degree manslaughter along with second-degree assault, third-degree assault and six counts of reckless endangerment. Police say he crashed into the homeless camp near Front and Division streets Northeast early yesterday morning. Two people died at the scene. Four people were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, and two of those people later died.

Coast Guard Suspends Search For Man Missing After Boat Sinks

(Portland, OR) -- The U.S. Coast Guard is suspending its search for a man whose fishing boat sank off the Oregon coast, killing one woman. The Coast Guard says 68-year-old Mike Morgan remains missing. Morgan reportedly sent a may-day call to the Coast Guard around 12 a.m. Saturday saying his 32-foot vessel White Swan III was sinking off the southern Oregon coast. Search crews found an unresponsive female crew member nearby, and she later died. The Coast Guard says crews searched for Morgan for 24 hours before suspending the search yesterday.

Wyden Calls On Thomas To Recuse Himself From Certain Cases

(Washington, DC) -- Senator Ron Wyden is calling for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from cases related to the Capitol riot investigation and the 2024 election. The Washington Post and CBS News report Thomas' wife sent dozens of texts to then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows pleading with him to help overturn the election results. Democrat Wyden says judges are obligated to recuse themselves when their participation in a case would create even the appearance of a conflict of interest. He says that bar has been met. None of the texts directly reference the Supreme Court or Justice Thomas.

Scappoose Firefighter Helps Ukrainian Refugees

(Scappoose, OR) -- A division chief for the Scappoose Fire District has traveled to the Ukraine region to help refugees. Dr. Miguel Bautista is a member of the non-profit Urban Search And Rescue team Empact Northwest. They provide rescue, medical, and logistical support at disasters worldwide. Chief Bautista is joining a medical group that will help refugees. He is a Disaster Medical Technician and has been a member of the team since 2015.

OR Reports 20 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 20 new deaths related to COVID-19 and 301 new infections. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. Health officials say 161 people are hospitalized with coronavirus statewide, which is four less than on Wednesday. There have now been seven-thousand-33 deaths and 702-thousand-566 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon since the pandemic began.

Dragon Boat Awakening Ceremony Scheduled Saturday

(Portland, OR) -- The 2022 Dragon Boat Eye Dotting Ceremony will be held Saturday at the RiverPlace Marina Flag Circle. It's the annual awakening ceremony for the boats so teams can start to practice for the races that'll be held June 11th and 12th as part of the Rose Festival. During the ceremony, the eyes on the dragon boats will be painted red to officially wake them up. It's open to the public and includes lion dancers, a water cannon salute from the Portland Fireboat, and Buddhist Monks leading a prayer ceremony. It starts at 11 o'clock Saturday morning.

OHCS Needs Input On Spending Federal Recovery Funds

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon will receive 422-million dollars later this year to help the recovery from the 2020 Labor Day wildfires. The money will come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Oregon Housing and Community Services is asking for public input on how the money should be spent. It can be used for affordable housing, public infrastructure, or economic revitalization. The comments will be used to create a draft Action Plan and then more comment will be taken. The OHCS website has additional details.

Reduced Speed On Sauvie Island

(Portland, OR) -- The speed limit on Northwest Gillihan Road on Sauvie Island has been reduced from 55 to 45 miles an hour. Residents says too many drivers were speeding and they requested the lower limit. ODOT did a traffic speed study and a safety committee determined reducing the speed limit by 10 miles an hour was warranted. Orange flags have temporarily be added to speed signs to alert drivers to the change.

OR COVID-19 Deaths Exceed 7,000

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is marking a grim new milestone in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Oregon Health Authority says the state has now surpassed seven-thousand coronavirus deaths. Health officials reported 30 new deaths yesterday, raising Oregon's death toll to seven-thousand-13. The health authority also reported 314 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Over the last week, new cases were down 19-percent. Hospitalizations are down 31-percent. Test positivity has dropped to two-and-a-half percent, which is the lowest since last July.

Portland Police Bureau Starts Hiring Campaign

(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Police Bureau says it's facing a major challenge to hire around 300 officers. At the start of the pandemic, they laid off seven background investigators due to budget cuts. Eight new investigators have been hired to determine which candidates can move forward in the process. The department currently has 777 sworn officers. Currently, there are around 300 applicants. The Bureau is looking for candidates throughout the western U.S. They're competing with many other law enforcement agencies that face similar officer shortages. It takes two years to train a new officer before they can patrol on their own.

Suspect Arrested For Stabbing On MAX Train

(Portland, OR) -- A person is hospitalized after being stabbed on a MAX train Wednesday afternoon in southeast Portland. The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office reports the stabbing victim got off the train at 148th and East Burnside. The person was taken to a hospital with a serious injury, but they're expected to survive. The suspect stayed on the train and was arrested after getting off at the 162nd Avenue station.

Grand Jury Indicts Proud Boy Member

(Portland, OR) -- A Multnomah County grand jury is indicting a member of the Proud Boys in connection with a rally that turned violent last year in northeast Portland. Prosecutors say 25-year-old Tusitala "Tiny" Toese [[ too-sih-TAHL-uh toe-AY-see ]] faces eleven charges that include assault, unlawful use of a weapon and riot. Toese was already in custody on unrelated charges in Washington and was transferred to Oregon. Toese's co-defendant 41-year-old Miles Furrow was previously indicted on eight charges from the same event in the parking lot of a former K-Mart. Prosecutors are asking the court to hold Toese in custody without bail until trial.

OSHA Fines Dollar Tree Stores $32,000

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon OSHA is fining Dollar Tree Stores 32-thousand dollars for failing to resolve safety issues for employees. Some of the issues include unsecured materials that fall on employees, tripping and falling in cramped aisles, and inaccessible fire extinguishers and emergency exits. The problems were found at several Dollar Tree stores and weren't fixed which led to the large fine. Dollar Tree has a month to appeal the fine.

Historic Building Vandalized

(Portland, OR) -- Police say the 12-story tall Jackson Building across from Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland has been vandalized with graffiti. The damage occurred on the top floor of the tower, just below the clock. The building was constructed in 1912 and is on the national register of historic places. Plans to remove the graffiti haven't been announced.

Oregon Adds 12,300 Jobs In February

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's unemployment rate dropped last month from four-point-two to four percent as the state added 12-thousand-300 jobs. It was the largest monthly gain since July 2021 when nearly 35-thousand jobs were added. Fifty-nine-thousand Oregonians have been unemployed for less than six months and 24-thousand people have been unemployed for longer than six months as the number of long-term unemployed continues to decrease rapidly. Eighty-six-percent of the jobs that were lost in spring of 2020 have been recovered. That compares to 90-percent of the jobs nationwide.

OR Reports Eight New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has eight new deaths related to COVID-19 and 269 new infections. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. Officials say 179 people are hospitalized with the virus statewide, which is 13 less than on Monday. A total of 110 ICU beds are available.

Oregon Zoo Welcomes First Condor Chick Of 2022

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Zoo is welcoming its first California condor chick of the year. The chick hatched last week at the zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation where the chicks are raised to be released into the wild. There are eleven fertile condor eggs this year, so more chicks should be coming. The California condor is critically endangered and was one of the original animals included in the 1973 Endangered Species Act. In 1982, only 22 birds remained in the wild. Now, there are around 500 condors flying free.

Oregon Gas Prices Decline

(Portland, OR) -- Gas prices are slowly declining. The Triple-A reports the national average price for a gallon of gas dropped seven cents last week to four-24 a gallon while Oregon's average decreased three cents to four-71. The price of crude oil is down and that's causing gas prices to drop. Diesel remains high with Oregon's average down a nickel to five-33 a gallon.

OR Reports Five New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is reporting five new deaths related to COVID-19 along with 560 new infections since Friday. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. Officials say 192 people are hospitalized with the virus statewide, which is two more than on Sunday. A total of 105 ICU beds are available.

OR Getting $8M In Federal Spending Bill

(Washington, D.C.) -- Oregon is getting nearly eight-million dollars from the federal spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Biden. Portland International Airport will get nearly four-million dollars to make a runway capable of surviving a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake. Benton County and Central Oregon will get funding to build emergency operations centers. The Oregon Native American Chamber will get funding for economic development.

Oregon Suicides Declined In 2020

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon's suicide rate appears to be on the decline, though it still remains above the national average. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports Oregon had 833 deaths in 2020, which is 73 less than in 2019. The number youth suicides declined 14-percent. Oregon was ranked 11th in the nation and its now 18th. Oregon Health Authority Behavioral Health Director Steve Allen says that while the decline in suicides is encouraging, more work needs to be done to prevent youth suicides.

Dog Found, Owner Missing

(Trail, OR) -- A search is underway in southern Oregon after a missing California man's dog was spotted near the town of Trail. Police say Tyler Evans went missing in early March while with his black and white dog. The town of Trail is about an hour north of the California border. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is asking for anyone who might have seen Evans or his dog to contact them.

Truckload Of Yeezy's Recovered

(Portland, OR) -- A truck load of new Adidas "Yeezy" shoes has been recovered after being stolen Saturday night in Portland. The eleven-hundred shoes worth over 250-thousand dollars were in a U-Haul truck when a suspect allegedly stole them last week. Police found the truck on Sunday and arrested 26-year-old Rupert Cross in connection with the theft.

Apartment Fire Bunny Rescue

(Beaverton, OR)  --  A fire in a Beaverton four-plex last night displaced 12 people, and firefighters rescued a bunny.  The building is located on Menlo Drive and Allen Boulevard.  When firefighters arrived, heavy fire was coming from one of the units and the fire had moved into the attic.  Firefighters started an aggressive attack that stopped the fire.  Crews found a bunny in a cage on the deck of one unit and brought it to safety.  All of the residents got safely.  Smoke and fire damage made all four units uninhabitable.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.
 

OR Passes Bill Sending Payments To Low-Income Residents

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Legislature passed a bill this year to make one-time 600-dollar payments to low-income Oregonians to help them with expenses, or loss of income, during the pandemic. To receive the payment, residents need to have filed for an Earned Income Tax Credit on their 2020 Oregon tax return. Residents who are eligible for the tax credit but didn't claim it can file an amended return by April 15th and still receive the one-time payment.

Man In Wheelchair Killed In Crash With Semi

(Portland, OR) -- Portland Police are trying to identify a semi truck that was involved in a fatal crash Friday night in Northeast Portland. Police say 59-year-old Raymond McWilliams was riding his motorized wheelchair on Northeast Vancouver Way near Gertz Road when the wheels went off the sidewalk and he fell under the tires of a passing semi. Police say the driver may not have known he hit McWilliams and didn't stop. McWilliams died at the scene.

Flu Cases Increase

(Portland, OR) -- Flu cases are on the rise in Oregon. Flu season normally runs between October and April, but the Oregon Health Authority is reporting a spike in cases. Officials say the season might be extended. OHA says the spike in cases is likely because fewer people in Oregon received the flu shot and because COVID-19 masking requirements were lifted.

OR Man Wins Millions In Lottery After Forgetting About Ticket

(Springfield, OR) -- An Oregon man is a Megabucks lottery winner after forgetting about his winning ticket. Wilbur Brown purchased his ticket on Christmas Eve that gave him a chance to win until mid-February. Brown said while at first he would check to see if he won, he quickly forgot about it. Over two months later, he finally realized he had won an eight-point-nine-million-dollar jackpot, and will now receive a 200-thousand-dollar check each year until he's cashed out his prize.

OR Reports 27 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 27 new deaths related to COVID-19 and 331 new infections. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. Hospitalizations continue to decline with 27 patients being released. There are currently 215 people hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, and 100 ICU beds are available.

Alleged Ghost Gun Maker Arrested

(Salem, OR)  --  A large scale ghost gun operation has been shutdown in Salem.  Tyler Harnden is accused of making guns without serial numbers.  Harnden is a convicted felon and not allowed to own guns.  Federal agents seized 68 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, 15 loaded high-capacity magazines, and 200 counterfeit oxycodone pills that contain fentanyl.  Court documents say Harnden got drug users to buy guns for him in exchange for oxycodone.  Harnden could face life in prison.

Portland Facing Another Record Year Of Gun Violence

(Portland, OR) -- Portland is on track for another record setting year of gun violence. Mayor Ted Wheeler says the city has allocated money to five community organizations that work to reduce gun violence. Wheeler says there needs to be several solutions to the problem and he says he's confident the action they're taking will work.

Fishermen Charged With Poaching Sturgeon

(Scappoose, OR) -- Several poachers face federal charges after a giant white sturgeon and four other sturgeon were illegally caught in Scappoose Bay earlier this month. Other anglers reported the fishermen in a boat who caught a sturgeon but didn't release it as required by law. Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife troopers recovered the fish and returned them to the bay. The giant white sturgeon measured more than seven feet long and is likely over 80 years old. Sturgeon can live to be more than 100 years old.

Coach Faces Federal Charges In Exploitation Of Minor

(Eugene, OR) -- A Portland man who works with children and young adults is facing federal charges for allegedly soliciting and receiving explicit images from a girl he met at a high school basketball camp. Officials say 35-year-old Nathan Bowie was charged in federal court Tuesday with sexual exploitation of a child, coercion and enticement, and the receipt of child pornography. Bowie was originally facing only state charges. He's been transferred from state to federal custody and will have his first detention hearing on Friday. Bowie is the head men's basketball coach at Mt. Hood Community College and an educational assistant at Hall Elementary School in Gresham.

OR Reports 35 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Health officials say COVID-19 cases have dropped 43-percent over the last week in Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority reported the decline yesterday. The health authority also reported 355 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday along with 35 new deaths. Hospitalizations are down 21-percent and the test positivity rate is three-point-three percent.

Klamath Basin Gets Federal Funding

(Klamath Falls, OR) -- The Klamath Basin will get 162-million dollars in infrastructure funding thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Investments. Officials can now start implementing portions of the funding as early as this summer. They will be accepting and reviewing restoration activity proposals for the Klamath Basin until May 8th.

Audit Finds Mortgage Interest Deduction Not Equitable

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's mortgage interest tax deduction is inequitable and regressive, according to an audit by the Oregon Secretary of State. It costs the state one-point-one billion dollars annually and benefits the top one-percent of earners more than the 727-thousand taxpayers in the bottom 40-percent combined. Black, Native American and Latino Oregonians receive disproportionately less benefits than white Oregonians. The audit recommends the Legislature identify a clear purpose for the deduction and determine whether changes are needed to make sure that goal is met.

Child Dies After Found In Creek

(Molalla, OR) -- Police say a child died after being found in a creek near their home in the Molalla area on Tuesday. Clackamas County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report a missing child from a home on South Union Mills Road. Shortly after deputies arrived, the child was found unresponsive in a creek. Medical crews started life-saving measures and the child was flown on Life Flight to a hospital, but was later pronounced deceased. The investigation continues.

UO Approves Tuition Hikes For Incoming Student

(Eugene, OR) - The University of Oregon Board of Trustees is approving a tuition hike for incoming students. All new in-state students will pay a four-and-a-half-percent increase per year, while out-of-state students will pay three-percent more. UO administrators say salary increases for staff and a push to fill vacant positions are among the reasons for the increase.

OR Tops 700,000 COVID-19 Cases

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is marking a new milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic. Health officials say the state has now surpassed 700-thousand cases of COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 421 new cases yesterday, raising the state's total number of cases so far to 700-thousand-361. The health authority also reported 14 new deaths yesterday. There are 224 people hospitalized with coronavirus statewide, which is 24 less than on Monday. Oregon currently ranks second-lowest in the nation for new cases per capita.

Tualatin Man Convicted Of Killing Mother

(Hillsboro, OR) -- Sentencing is set for next month for a man convicted of killing his mother in 2018 and then trying to have his brothers killed from jail. A Washington County jury found Michael Ross guilty yesterday of several charges, including second-degree murder and solicitation to commit first-degree murder. Court records say Ross killed his 73-year-old mother in her Tualatin home by stabbing her and then hitting her with a steel pipe. He also tried to hit his brother with the pipe, but he escaped. While in jail, Ross confessed to another inmate that he killed his mother and then offered to pay the inmate tens of thousands of dollars if he killed his two brothers after being released on bail. Ross reportedly anticipated a large inheritance and didn't want his brothers testifying against him.

Seatbelt Prevents Carjacking In Northeast Portland

(Portland, OR) -- Police say a seatbelt helped prevent a carjacking in Northeast Portland Monday night. The incident started when police performed a welfare check on two people who appeared to be passed out in a car that was running in a parking lot. Police say the driver woke up and eventually ran from the scene and tried to carjack a nearby vehicle, but he was unable to get the driver out of the car because they were wearing a seatbelt. The suspect then broke into a house and tried to hide in the attic, but a K-9 found 35-year-old Nathan Cutfinger, and he was taken into custody.

Oregon And Willamette Humane Societies To Merge

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Humane Society and the Willamette Humane Society are merging into one organization. Officials say the merger will be effective July 1st and take up to two years to complete. Sharon Harmon will continue to be the President and CEO of the Oregon Humane Society. Harmon says the challenges of operating the last two years has accelerated the need to be innovative and to find new ways to be financially sustainable. The groups will maintain shelters in Portland and Salem.

Rent Assistance Applications Taken One More Week

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance program will continue to take applications for one more week. The program was originally scheduled to end Monday night. The U.S. Department of Treasury is giving an additional 16-million dollars. Tenants who need help paying their rent can apply at Oregon rental assistance dot org through 11:59 p.m. on March 21st.

Beachgoers Warned About Snowy Plover Nests

(Salem, OR) -- Officials are warning Oregon Beachgoers to watch for western snowy plover nesting sites through September 15th. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department says the threatened species nests on open sand, and both the nests and the chicks tend to blend in with the sand. Areas where the birds are located have been roped off. All recreation in those areas is off limits including walking a dog, driving a vehicle, riding a bike, camping, campfires, and flying kites or drones. The Oregon Parks website has a map showing the locations where the nests are located.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program Ending

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon's Emergency Rental Assistance Program is officially closed to new applicants. The program stopped accepting new applications at 11:59 p.m. last night. The portal was reopened to receive applications on January 26th after the Legislature allocated an additional 100-million dollars. If a tenant has an incomplete application in the portal, they have until March 21st to complete it. Five counties in the Portland area have received additional funding and have their own programs.

OR Reports 16 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 16 new deaths related to COVID-19 and 775 new infections reported over the weekend. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. There are 248 people hospitalized with the virus statewide, which is five less than on Sunday. A total of 102 ICU beds are currently available.

Oregon Department Of Justice Hires Anti-Poaching Prosecutor

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon has a high rate of poaching, and now the Oregon Department of Justice has a special prosecutor who will focus on those cases. Jay D. Hall worked for the Lane County District Attorney's office for the last 12 years prosecuting major crimes. He's an expert in using Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, statutes to hold poaching rings accountable. One case involved over 300 poached deer and elk. This is the third phase of a legislative plan to reduce poaching. The first two phases were a public awareness campaign and increased enforcement.

Suspect Pleads Guilty To Selling Scorpions

(Medford, OR) -- A Eugene man is pleading guilty to illegally importing and exporting live scorpions. Darren Drake was accused of sending and receiving the scorpions from Germany, Michigan and Texas. In one case, he labeled a box of scorpions as chocolates. Drake didn't have an import-export license in violation of federal law. He could face a year in prison and a 100-thousand dollar fine.

Clark County Sheriff Announces Service Cuts

(Vancouver, WA) -- The Clark County Sheriff's Office is cutting services due to staffing shortages. Sheriff Chuck Atkins says there aren't enough deputies for the number of service calls. Deputies will no longer respond to 13 types of calls, including theft of property under 750 dollars, minor crimes, simple assaults and minor traffic complaints. Atkins says the County Council has not implemented any of the suggested changes to help with the staffing crisis, so he's cutting services. The changes take effect on March 31st.

Mask Requirement Ends

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon's indoor mask mandate is officially over. Oregon ended the mandate at 11:59 p.m. Friday in conjunction with Washington state and California. The move means residents are no longer required to wear a mask in indoor public spaces such as stores, restaurants, schools, gyms or churches. Private businesses may still choose to require their customers to mask up. Masks are also still required in healthcare and long-term care facilities as well as in correctional facilities and on public transit, including buses, airplanes, taxis and rideshare vehicles. Health officials note that the pandemic is not over and that COVID-19 can still be transmitted in crowded situations.

Gerry Frank Dies At Age 98

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon businessman, civic leader, and philanthropist Gerry Frank has died at age 98. His family owned the Meier & Frank department store in Portland. His uncle was former Governor Julius Meier and he worked as an aide to Oregon Senator and then Governor Mark Hatfield for two decades. Senator Ron Wyden says Gerry Frank lived the Oregon Way with every fiber of his being, adding that every single day, he cared deeply about making Oregon a better place.

Police Arrest Domestic Violence Suspect In Vancouver

(Vancouver, WA) -- A wanted domestic violence suspect is behind bars after allegedly leading police on a car chase in Clark County. The Clark County Sheriff's Office says the pursuit started yesterday after deputies spotted 34-year-old Owen Beckley near East Fourth Plain Boulevard and T Street in Vancouver. Police reportedly tried to make contact with Beckley, prompting him to allegedly get into his car and take off. Police pursued him for about half a mile before using a PIT maneuver to end the chase and arrest him. No injuries were reported.

OHA Warns About PCBs In Sturgeon

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Health Authority is warning residents about eating sturgeon caught in the lower Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Tests show the fish contain potentially carcinogenic PCBs. Sturgeon live long and eat from the bottom of the river, where PCBs settle. OHA says sturgeon caught in the lower Columbia River aren't as contaminated, so seven to eight meals per month are allowable. Sturgeon caught in the lower Willamette River are more contaminated, and only one meal per month is recommended.

Cattle Hauler Crashes On I-5

(Wilsonville, OR) -- A trailer carrying a load of cattle overturned on I-5 in Wilsonville yesterday afternoon. A total of 31 cows were in the trailer, and many of them got loose on the freeway. Both north and southbound lanes were closed while the cattle were herded toward another trailer. The driver of the truck that crashed didn't need to be transported to a hospital. Oregon State Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

OR Reports 54 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 54 new deaths related to COVID-19 and 433 new cases. There are 271 people hospitalized with COVID-19 which is one more than on Wednesday. There have been six-thousand-854 deaths and 698-thousand-982 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Three Police Officers Lose Jobs Over Halloween Incident

(Forest Grove, OR) -- Three Forest Grove Police officers are out of the job over a 2020 Halloween incident that involved an off-duty officer. Officer Steven Teets was fired in December 2020 after a woman accused him of drunkenly trespassing and harassing her family because of a Black Lives Matter flag at her home. An officer who responded and took Teets home was charged with official misconduct. Police Chief Henry Reimann says his department is committed to reforming police policies.

Merkley Expects Broad Support To Help Ukraine

(Washington, D.C.) -- Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says there's broad support in Congress to help Ukraine. The House passed a spending bill that includes 14-billion dollars to help Ukraine respond to the invasion by Russia. Merkley says the country needs anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. Merkley says supporting Ukraine is vital to helping the country keep its democracy.

Jail Deputy Investigated Over Use Of Force

(Vancouver, WA) -- A Clark County Sheriff's Office corrections deputy is on disciplinary administrative leave while an internal affairs investigation is conducted into a jail use of force incident. The Sheriff's Office says Deputy Robert Hanks is under investigation for using excessive force while handcuffing an inmate. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office conducted the initial investigation which has been turned over to the Clark County District Attorney for review. Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins says he was troubled by video of the incident and wanted it reviewed by an outside agency. A decision on charges has not been made by the district attorney.

Mask Requirement Ends

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon's indoor mask requirement ends tonight. Oregon is dropping the mandate at 11:59 p.m. in conjunction with Washington state and California. Health officials say it doesn't mean the pandemic is over. The COVID-19 virus still exists and can be transmitted in crowded situations. They advise people who haven't been vaccinated or are at high risk to continue wearing masks.

Mother Delivers Baby On Sidewalk, Walks Away

(Portland, OR) -- Police say a woman gave birth on a sidewalk in downtown Portland and then walked away. Bystanders who saw it happen covered the baby and called 911. Police found the mother several blocks away. Officers say she was suffering a mental health crisis. They say the baby girl appeared to be in good condition. The mother was taken to a hospital and the newborn was taken to a children's hospital for treatment.

OLCC Delists Russian Spirits

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission is voting to discontinue all of the 18 Russian distilled spirits they sell at liquor stores. OLCC had pulled the items because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now, they won't carry them at all. The OLCC regularly delists items that don't sell well. Last year, 260 items were delisted, but they added 100 new products.

OR Reports 29 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Over two-dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 29 new coronavirus deaths yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to 68-hundred. The health authority also reported 470 new cases of COVID-19. There are 270 people hospitalized, which is 21 less than on Tuesday. Over the last week, new cases have declined 28-percent, while hospitalizations are down 35-percent and the test positivity rate is four-point-four percent.

COVID-19 Memorial Planned In Portland

(Portland, OR) -- Multnomah County employees will hold a memorial on the Hawthorne Bridge this evening to mark the two-year anniversary of the first Multnomah County resident to test positive for COVID-19. County Chair Deborah Kafoury will lead the group from the Portland Fire Station on Southeast Madison Street up the ramp from the Eastbank Esplanade and onto the bridge. The lights on the Morrison Bridge will be blue to honor the one-thousand-74 people who died with COVID-19 and 111-thousand-490 residents who tested positive for the virus.

OLCC Selects New Warehouse Site

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission has selected a site for its new warehouse. The OLCC currently uses two warehouses to store spirits that go to liquor stores, restaurants, and bars. The new warehouse will be located at the Canby Baker Center. The current main warehouse doesn't meet seismic requirements and it's too small for future needs. The new warehouse will allow the OLCC to expand the number of products it carries. The additional revenue will allow them to pay off the construction bonds in less than a year.

Oregon Adds 5,700 Jobs In January

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's economy added 57-hundred jobs in January as the unemployment rate increased from four-point-two to four-point-three percent. More than 107-thousand jobs have been added over the last year. The Oregon Employment Department says nearly every sector of the economy has more jobs now that it did before the pandemic.

Top Three Consumer Complaints In Oregon

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Attorney General's Office is releasing the top consumer complaints from 2021. They are auto sales and repairs, telecommunications, and impostor scams. Oregon consumers who filed complaints to the Consumer Protection Hotline got a total of 628-thousand dollars returned to them. Nearly 27-thousand calls came into the hotline and there were almost 67-hundred written complaints. The Oregon Attorney General's website has tips on scam and fraud prevention.

Vancouver Red Lion Coming Down

(Vancouver, WA) -- The former Red Lion Hotel on the waterfront in Vancouver is coming down. Crews have been preparing for deconstruction, but the process is now underway. The hotel was built in 1960. It closed in 2015. Much of the building will be recycled including interior handrails, 100-year-old timber beams and exterior windows that'll be used to make greenhouses. The new site will include a Marriott Hotel, offices, retail space, and a public market.

Church Arson Suspect Arrested

(Salem, OR) -- Salem Police say they've arrested a suspect in connection to a church burglary and arson. Police arrested 31-year-old Victor Hachipan on charges of Arson and Burglary. Police say the Way Church in downtown Salem was burglarized on three occasions in February. During one break-in, the suspect set window coverings on fire, which caused damage to the window. Sound system and computer equipment in the church were also damaged.

OR Reports 29 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 29 new coronavirus cases along with 397 new infections. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. There are 291 people hospitalized with COVID-19, which is 13 less than on Monday. There have now been six-thousand-772 deaths and 698-thousand-127 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon since the pandemic began.

Blazers To Remove Mask Requirement

(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Trail Blazers and the Rose Quarter will remove the indoor mask requirement on March 12th. Oregon Governor Kate Brown will end the mask requirement statewide on the same day. The Oregon Health Authority still recommends masking for people at higher risk from COVID-19, including unvaccinated people and those with weakened immune systems. Masks are encouraged while on the Rose Quarter campus and attending events.

Driver Killed In Highway 30 Crash

(Scappoose, OR) -- One person is dead following a crash on Highway 30 east of Scappoose. Oregon State Police say 22-year-old Laysea Leibnow was traveling westbound yesterday when her Mini Cooper hit a guardrail and crossed into the eastbound lanes, hitting another car. Leibnow was ejected from her car and she died the scene. The driver of the second car was hospitalized with minor injuries.

Climber Killed In Fall On Mt. Hood

(Timberline Lodge, OR) -- A climber is dead after a fall on Mt. Hood Sunday afternoon. Two climbers fell and one person was able to use a cell phone to call for help. Conditions were dangerous on the mountain with avalanches and winds gusting to 70 miles an hour. Rescuers reached the climbers on Monday and found one person dead and the other person injured. The survivor was carried down on a litter to Timberline Lodge and transported to a hospital. The conditions were too dangerous to bring down the person who died. A recovery mission will happen when conditions improve.

Beaverton Schools To End Mask Requirement

(Beaverton, OR) -- The Beaverton School District is announcing that masks will no longer be required at school, in district facilities or on school buses effective March 14th. It'll be up to students and staff to choose whether they want to wear masks. A survey of students, staff and parents found more than half of all groups want the mask policy to be optional. Oregon's indoor mask requirement ends on March 12th.

Doggie Dash Returns To Waterfront Park

(Portland, OR) -- After two years of virtual celebrations, the Oregon Humane Society's Doggie Dash returns to Waterfront Park this year. Doggie Dash is the largest celebration of people and pets on the West Coast and the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Oregon Humane Society. It'll be held Saturday May 14th. Some changes have been made, because of the pandemic. The traditional pancake breakfast has been replaced with individually wrapped items. There will be two Libation Stations, so people can spread out. And there will be more waves of start times. Registration is free if you do it before April 30th at doggie dash dot org.

OR Reports 35 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Nearly three-dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 35 new coronavirus deaths yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to six-thousand-743. The health authority also reported one-thousand-116 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday. Officials say 304 people are hospitalized, which is down 38 from Sunday.

Russian Invasion Drives Gas Prices Higher

(Portland, OR) -- The Russian war in Ukraine continues to drive gas prices higher. Triple-A reports the national average increased 45 cents over the last week to four-dollars-and-six-cents a gallon. Oregon's average is up 48 cents to four-dollars-and-51-cents a gallon. And, Washington's average is up 44-cents to four-dollars-and-45-cents a gallon.

Hit-And-Run Crash Kills One, Injures Another

(Tigard, OR) -- An investigation is ongoing into a hit-and-run crash that killed one woman and seriously injured her elderly mother in Tigard. Police say the 57-year-old woman and her 86-year-old mother were walking across Southwest Hall Boulevard Friday night when a driver crashed into them and continued driving. The younger woman died at the scene, while her mother was hospitalized for serious injuries. The suspect vehicle is described as a dark colored 2015 or 2016 Jeep Renegade.

Suspect Blows Up Car In SW Portland Parking Lot

(Portland, OR) -- Police are searching for a suspect accused of blowing up a car in Southwest Portland. Officials say several people called 911 just before 8 o'clock yesterday morning after seeing the car engulfed in flames in a Fred Meyer parking lot. Surveillance footage shows the suspect walking up to the car with something in their hand just moments before the car exploded into flames. The car was a complete loss. No injuries were reported.

70 Guitars Stolen From Oregon Music Hall Of Fame

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Music Hall of Fame needs help finding 70 stolen guitars. Officials say the guitars were in storage for the annual fundraiser in October. They were signed by The Monkees, George Clinton, Lucinda Williams, Arlo Guthrie, and Portugal The Man. The fundraiser is for a scholarship program. At least four scholarships are awarded to students in music education. Anyone with information about the guitars should contact Portland Police.

SOLVE Signups Now Open

(Portland, OR) -- Volunteer registration is now open for SOLVE's April 23rd Oregon Spring Cleanup. The event combines SOLVE IT for Earth Day and the Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup. The two events have removed more than 17-million pounds of litter and over 250-thousand volunteers have taken part in the events. You can sign up at solve-Oregon-dot-org..

Police Seek Suspect In Fatal Hit And Run

(Tigard, OR) -- Tigard Police are trying to identify a suspect in a fatal hit and run crash. It happened Friday evening on Hall Boulevard at Lucille Court. A mother and daughter were crossing Hall Boulevard when they were hit. The daughter, a 57-year-old woman, died at the scene. Her 86-year-old mother was hospitalized with serious injuries. The suspect's vehicle was a dark colored 2015 to 2016 Jeep Renegade. It'll have significant front-end damage. If you can help identify the vehicle, contact Tigard Police.

OSU To Hold In-person Commencements

(Corvallis, OR) -- Oregon State University will hold in-person graduation ceremonies for the first time in two years. The Corvallis ceremony will be held June 11th and the OSU-Cascades ceremony will be held in Bend on June 12th. Commencement ceremonies in 2020 were canceled to help reduce risk of COVID-19. Last year, virtual ceremonies were held for 2020 and 2021 graduates. All students graduating between summer 2021 and summer 2022 can participate in the ceremonies.

OR Lawmakers Approve Farm Worker Overtime Bill

(Salem, OR) -- Farm workers in Oregon will be paid overtime under a bill that's on its way to the Governor. The bill passed on a party-line vote. It phases in overtime requirements over four years. A tax credit would be available to small farmers that will help cover some of the higher salary costs. Farmers say it'll result in more automation and some farmers will have to sell their farms to larger corporations.

OR Approaches 400 COVID-19 Hospitalizations

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is getting close to the number of hospitalizations health officials say is necessary to remove masks. Officials say 404 people are hospitalized, which is 20 patients less than on Wednesday. Health officials say fewer than 400 people need to be hospitalized to remove the indoor mask requirement. March 11th is the current date to end the requirement, and it's not expected to change. The Oregon Health Authority reported 34 new deaths related to COVID-10 along with 696 new cases yesterday.

Legislature Passes Air Conditioning Bill

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Legislature has passed and sent to the Governor a bill that will help low income residents survive extreme heat events. The bill increases access to portable air conditioning units for people who can't afford them. Last summer's "heat dome" caused the deaths of at least 96 people in the state. The bill also sets requirements for new residential rental units to provide adequate cooling. A grant program will help home owners buy heat and cooling pumps.

Oregon To Get $97 Million From Purdue Pharma

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon will get 97-million dollars from the new settlement with Purdue Pharma for its role in the opioid crisis. Purdue and the Sackler Family, that owned the company, will pay a total of six-billion dollars nationally. Oregon is also getting 329-million dollars from the other three large distributors of opioids. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says Purdue's original bankruptcy plan failed to achieve justice for millions of Americans who were the victims of the Sackler's greed.

Legislature Approves Pandemic Payments

(Salem, OR) -- A quarter million Oregonians would get checks for 600 dollars under a bill that passed the Legislature with large majorities. The one-time payments would go to low-income households with members who worked during the first year of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Only taxpayers who qualified for and claimed the earned income tax credit on their 2020 income tax returns are eligible to receive the payments. The bill now goes to the Governor.

OR Education Updates COVID-19 School Guidance

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Department of Education is releasing new guidance for school districts to deal with the pandemic after the mask requirement is lifted on March 11th. Contact tracing will go away. If a student or staff member gets COVID, the groups affected would be notified. Infected students should stay home for five days. They can return 24 hours after their fever breaks, but should wear a mask for the next five days. The Test to Stay program would turn into an enhanced exposure program for people at higher risk.

Oregon Zoo Has New Baby Calf

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Zoo is announcing the birth of a rare African antelope at its facility. The bontebok were once considered among the most imperiled mammals on the planet. Zoo officials say the female bontebok that gave birth initially wasn't nursing the calf, so zoo keepers gave the calf a blood transfusion from the father so it had immunities. Zoo keepers then bottle-fed the baby until the new mother learned how to nurse the calf. It weighed just under 18 pounds at birth and now weighs 34 pounds. Once she gets larger, she'll be allowed out into the zoo's Africa savanna area.

$22,500 Reward Offered For Arrest In Wolf Poaching

(Cove, OR) -- Authorities are offering a reward of over 22-thousand dollars for information that leads to an arrest or citation in the killing of a wolf near Cove in Union County. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says the wolf was fatally shot on February 15th. The female wolf had a monitoring collar. Biologists believe she may have been related to the Catherine pack. All known members of that pack were killed in a poisoning last year.

OSU To End Mask Requirement

(Corvallis, OR) -- Oregon State University will end its mask requirement on March 12th. Officials say masks will become optional on that date. Effective immediately, OSU is no longer requiring people attending events to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

OR Reports Four New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has four new deaths related to COVID-19 and 696 new cases. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. Officials say 424 people are hospitalized with the virus statewide, which is 36 less than on Tuesday. Over the last week, cases have declined 43-percent and hospitalizations are down 31-percent. Test positivity is six-point-four percent.

Oaks Park Open During Spring Break

(Portland, OR) -- Oaks Park in southeast Portland is marking its 117th year of operation. They'll be open Spring Break from noon to 5 p.m. March 19th through the 27th. Rides will be running along with midway games and mini golf. The Roller Rink will also be open. Capacities are limited, so it's recommended that residents buy tickets online in advance.

Two Men Indicted In Drug Trafficking Operation

(Portland, OR) -- A federal grand jury in Portland is indicting two men in a major drug trafficking operation. Earlier this month, federal agents arranged to buy drugs and seized 50 pounds of methamphetamine and over ten-thousand counterfeit fentanyl pills. Additional searches turned up 15 additional pounds of meth, a pound of heroin and 50-thousand dollars in cash. Juan Manuel Angulo of Gresham and Enrique Ocegueda of Beaverton are charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl.

Pacific Power Requests Rate Increase

(Portland, OR) -- Pacific Power wants to raise electric rates six-point-six-percent. They say the increase is necessary due to higher costs, plus wildfire mitigation strategies, vegetation management, and clean energy resources. The increase would raise 82-million dollars. If approved, it would be Pacific Power's first general rate increase in nearly a decade.

OR Reports 26 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Over two-dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 26 new coronavirus deaths yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to six-thousand-648. The health authority also reported 741 new cases of COVID-19. There are 460 people hospitalized with the virus statewide, which is 19 less than on Monday. Officials say 16-percent of the state's ICU beds remain available.

Whale Watching Sites Not Staffed In Oregon

(Newport, OR) -- Whale watching season has arrived on the Oregon Coast as 25-thousand gray whales swim north after giving birth off the coast of Baja, Mexico. Normally, Oregon Parks and Recreation has staff and volunteers at whale watching sites to help show you how to spot the whales, but this year that's been canceled. The Oregon Parks website has a list of the locations and tips on how to find the whales.

Vancouver Searches For New Police Chief

(Vancouver, WA) -- Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain is announcing plans to retire by June 30th. The city is launching a nationwide search for his replacement. McElvain has been chief since 2013. The city is conducting a survey to gather information about the attributes and leadership values the community would like to see in the next chief. The survey is available online and can also be requested from the city. An outside recruitment business is being used to help conduct the search.

Former Portland Police Union President Fired

(Portland, OR) -- The former head of the Portland Police Association has lost his job as a police officer for leaking an incorrect traffic complaint against City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. An internal investigation found Brian Hunzeker leaked the report as retaliation against Hardesty for her criticism of the Police Bureau. Mayor Ted Wheeler says he made the decision to fire Hunzeker despite opposition from Police Chief Chuck Lovell.

California, Oregon, Washington To Lift Mask Requirement March 12

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon will join Washington and California in lifting the indoor mask requirement effective March 12th. Governor Kate Brown announced the news yesterday, saying declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are making the change possible. Last week, the CDC announced that mask requirements could be dropped in most parts of the country because of declining COVID-19 case numbers.

Atmospheric River Increases Landslide Risk

(Salem, OR) -- Heavy rain from an atmospheric river is increasing the risk of debris flows and mudslides. The Oregon Department of Geology says residents should be extra careful in steep terrain. If you see a creek suddenly turn muddy or hear trees cracking and boulders knocking together it's a sign that a slide could be on the way. Drivers should be especially carefully in hilly areas.

OLCC Bans Sale Of Russian-made Liquor

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon liquor stores are pulling Russian made liquor. The Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission ordered the stores to stop selling liquor that was distilled in Russia. There are around five-thousand bottles of Russian-made liquor in 281 stores and more than 62-hundred bottles in the OLCC warehouse. The OLCC says it's taking the action because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and removing the products aligns with economic sanctions against Russia.

Big Pipe Prevents Sewer Overflow

(Portland, OR) -- Portland's Big Pipe did its job during the heavy rain. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services says the pipe filled with combined storm runoff and sewer water to 100-percent capacity, but there was not an overflow into the Willamette River. After about an hour at capacity, the level in the Big Pipe started to decline. The Big Pipe is a large underground storage tank the gives the sewage treatment plants time to process waste during periods of heavy rain.

Morrison Bridge Lit With Ukrainian Colors

(Portland, OR) -- The Morrison Bridge is lit in blue and yellow this week to honor Ukraine amid Russia's invasion of the country. Blue and yellow are the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury says it's a small but visible way that Multnomah County can show support for the people of Ukraine. The lights will be up through Sunday.

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