Regional News Archives for 2022-11

Drug Dealing Couple Sentenced To Federal Prison

(Eugene, OR) -- A drug-dealing husband and wife from southern Oregon are headed to federal prison after being linked to the overdose death of a customer. The U.S. Attorney for Oregon says 49-year-old Brian Ramos was sentenced to six years in prison and his 41-year-old wife Christine Ramos was sentenced to four years. According to court documents, the male customer died of fentanyl poisoning after visiting the Ramos' home in Yoncalla in 2018. Both defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring with one another to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, oxycodone, and hydromorphone.

Monkeypox Cases Rise In Oregon

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon health officials are concerned about an increase in mpox, or monkeypox, cases. They initially peaked in August and then declined into the fall, but the past two weeks the number of cases has increased to 19. Oregon now has 259 mpox cases, including two pediatric cases. The Oregon Health Authority says people who are at higher risk should get the vaccine. So far, 11-thousand first doses of the vaccine and six-thousand second doses have been given in Oregon. Health officials are working with the Oregon Pharmacy Board to get the vaccine into pharmacies.

Portland Settles With Demonstrators

(Portland, OR) -- The City of Portland has settled a lawsuit that was filed by Don't Shoot Portland over police response to demonstrations in 2020. The protests followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Under the settlement, the city agreed to a 14-month injunction on the Police Bureau's use of force. It includes limits on tear gas, rubber ball distraction devices, aerosol restraints, and Long Range Acoustical Devices. The plaintiffs received 250-thousand dollars.

Mattress Retailer Fined For Requiring Employees Drive Dangerous Truck

(Hillsboro, OR) -- Oregon OSHA has fined Mattress Megastore in Hillsboro more than 66-thousand dollars for multiple workplace safety violations. They include requiring employees to drive a delivery truck in the rain when the windshield wipers didn't work. The windshield had two large cracks that obscured the driver's line of sight. And, the driver's seatbelt didn't work. Employees were allegedly threatened with termination if they didn't use the truck. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is investigating whether that violated anti-retaliation provisions of the Oregon Safe Employment Act. Mattress Megastore has 30 days to appeal.

Grand Jury Clears Officers In Shooting

(Salem, OR) -- A Clackamas County grand jury has cleared a Sheriff's deputy and an Oregon State Police trooper in a shooting that killed Derrick Clark in June. The Oregon Attorney General prosecuted the case on a request from the Clackamas County District Attorney. Sheriff's Detective Daniel Ferguson and OSP Trooper Zachary Cole attempted to stop Clark in a vehicle. He fled and crashed in a ditch. When he got out of the car, he was armed with a gun, refused to drop it and ran. During the foot pursuit, he raised the gun and both officers fired killing Clark. The grand jury determined the officers' conduct didn't warrant criminal charges.

Gas Prices Continue Plunge

(Portland, OR) -- Gas prices continue to plunge in Oregon. Triple-A reports the national average dropped 12-cents over the last week to three-52 a gallon while Oregon's average fell 19-cents to four-42. It's the fifth largest weekly drop in the nation. Diesel in Oregon declined six-cents to five-46 a gallon.

Oregon To Auction College Opportunity Grant Tax Credits

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

OSU Researchers Develop Anti-Epilepsy Medication Sensor

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

Nurses Want Investigation Into Providence Health Payroll System

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

Oregon Spends $20 Million To Reduce Wildfire Risk

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

Bull Run Water Returns

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

Two Hospitals Implement Crisis Pediatric Care

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

False Active Shooter Call At School

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

King Tide Warning

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

Gas Prices Plunge, But Remain At Record Highs

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

Oregon Financial Officials Warn Of Cryptocurrency Investments

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

Lawsuit Filed Against Oregon Gun Control Measure

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

5.2 Magnitude Quake Off Oregon Coast

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

Oregon Governor Pardons 45,000 Marijuana Convicts

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

Portland Breaks November Record For No Rain

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

Lack Of Public Defenders Threat To Public Safety

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

Portland Chosen For NCAA Women's Final Four

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

OHSU Trains Out-Of-State Resident In Abortion Care

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

Natural Gas Pipeline Environmental Impact Statement Completed

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

Governor Brown COVID-19

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

Oregonians Honored By FBI

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

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

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

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

Woman Charged In Fraud Ring

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

Deputy's Use Of Force Justified

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

FERC Approves Removing Four Klamath River Dams

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

Attempted Murder Suspect Arrested After Standoff

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

Jury Finds Protester Guilty

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

ODE Releases School Report Cards

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Department of Education has released the Statewide Report Card on schools. It shows data on students, teachers and schools from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. After two years during the pandemic when some of the data was missing due to disruptions at schools, the report card is back to its pre-pandemic format. Most of the data has been released in other reports this year. Students demonstrated significant progress toward being on track by ninth grade increasing from 73-percent to nearly 83-percent.

Oregon Part Of $3 Billion Walmart Opioid Settlement

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon will be part of the three-billion-dollar settlement with Walmart over the way their pharmacies dispensed opioids. The money will be divided by the states that sign on to the agreement. At least 43 states need to sign on by the end of the year. The money will be used to provide opioid addiction treatment and recovery services. The settlement also requires Walmart to take action that will prevent future fraudulent prescriptions from being dispensed. Negotiations are also underway with CVS and Walgreens regarding their expected settlements.

OHA Offers COVID-19 Telehealth Access

(Portland, OR) -- People who don't have access to health care can get free telehealth visits for COVID-19 through a new service offered by the Oregon Health Authority. The OHA recommends that people first try to locate a federal Test to Treat site. If they can't do that, they can contact Color Health online or over the phone for a free telehealth visit, if they have COVID-19. During the appointment, they can find out if they're eligible for oral antiviral medicine.

Mass Waterfowl Casualty Event

(Drewsey, OR) -- Officials say 30 swans, geese and other waterfowl were killed in a mass casualty event east of Burns in Eastern Oregon last week. Think Wild, a bird rescue group in Bend, was asked to care for one Tundra Swan that survived. Biologists think a combination of a lunar eclipse and a snow storm caused the birds to become disoriented and fly into power lines, light poles, and the ground. The birds were either killed or too severely injured to heal. The bird that survived is being cared for until it can recover.

Salinas Projected Winner District 6

(Salem, OR) -- Democrat Andrea Salinas is the projected winner of the race for the new 6th Congressional District in Oregon. NBC News projects Salinas as the winner over Republican Mike Erickson by a margin of 50 to 48-percent. The 6th Congressional District was created because Oregon's population increased adding a member to the state's Congressional delegation.

Oregon Businesses Prepare To Start Withholding Paid Leave Funds

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's new paid leave program takes effect next year and starting in January, businesses will begin withholding money from employee paychecks. Paid Leave Oregon will cover time off for a birth or adoption, illness or taking care of a sick family member, and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or harassment. It'll cost one-percent of an employee's salary. Employees will have to pay 60-percent and the business will pay 40-percent. Businesses can cover the entire cost.

Oregon Congressional Races

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon has two Congressional races that remain close. In the 5th District, Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer leads Jamie McLeod-Skinner by two-percent, or about six-thousand votes. In the 6th District, Democrat Andrea Salinas leads Republican Mike Erickson by less than two-percent, or about four-thousand votes.

Kotek Expands Lead In Governor's Race

(Salem, OR) -- Democratic candidate for governor Tina Kotek is emerging victorious over Republican candidate Christine Drazan. The Washington Post and the Oregonian both projected Kotek as the winner last night after new ballot counts showed her leading with 47-percent of the vote. Drazan follows with 43-point-five-percent. More than 85-percent of the state's ballots have now been counted. Drazan has issued a statement saying she wants to see more votes counted before she responds.

Mayor Wheeler Proposes $27 Million For Camps

(Portland, OR) -- Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is proposing a 27-million-dollar start to his proposed homeless camps. The money would fund site assessment, a 50-person team to connect homeless people with services, money to build and operate six camps, and security for surrounding neighborhoods and businesses. The money will be considered by City Council when it approves fall budget changes. Wheeler wants to build the camps and ban unsanctioned homeless camping.

Oregon Ballot Measures

(Salem, OR) -- Two Oregon ballot measures remain close from Tuesday's General Election. Ballot Measure 111, for health are rights, is passing by 24-thousand votes. And, Measure 114, which strengthens restrictions on guns, is passing by about 33-thousand votes.

Anarchist Arrested For Election Night Event

(Portland, OR) -- A member of an anarchist group has been charged for allegedly trying to disrupt an election night event in Portland. A Portland Police officer saw a group of people pushing dumpsters in to the street on Southwest Park Avenue. The group pushed the dumpster behind the police car to block it. The people were dressed in all black and wore black masks. They started walking away and the officer told them to stop. They started running. Other officers arrived and arrested 23-year-old Jarrid Huber. He's charged with Disorderly Conduct and Interfering with a Peace Officer.

Woman Faces Bias Crime Charge

(Portland, OR) -- A woman has been charged with Bias Crime in an alleged attack on a TriMet supervisor. On Wednesday, 41-year-old Nicole Hileman was on a MAX train when she used racial slurs against a man and threatened to punch him. A safety supervisor asked her to leave the train and Hileman spit on the supervisor and then hit her causing a concussion. Hileman faces five charges including Bias Crime, Assault, and Interfering with Public Transport.

Lawsuit Targets Testosterone Gel Makers

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against several pharmaceutical companies for keeping a generic version of testosterone replacement gels off the market. The market to sell the gel to men with low testosterone levels has sales of one-billion dollars a year. The lawsuit alleges AbbVie, Abbott Laboratories, Unimed Pharmaceuticals, and Besins Healthcare filed sham patent litigation to keep other companies from producing a generic version of the drug, which led to extremely high prices. The lawsuit seeks to take the excessive profits the companies made from selling the drug AndroGel.

Two Congressional Races Remain Too Close To Call

(Salem, OR) -- Two Oregon Congressional races remain too close to call. In the 5th District, Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer leads Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner by more than two-percent. In the 6th District race, Democrat Andrea Salinas leads Republican Mike Erickson by slightly more than one-percent.

In-N-Out To Open In Roseburg

(Roseburg, OR) -- In-N-Out's newest restaurant will open in Roseburg tomorrow [[ Thursday ]]. It's located on the east side of I-5, south of the Home Depot. Eighty people will work at the restaurant. The starting salary is 15-75 an hour. There's one drive-thru lane and indoor seating for 74 people. This is In-N-Out's fourth restaurant in Oregon.

Round-The-Clock Vigil Planned At Veterans Memorial

(Portland, OR) -- A 24-hour vigil will start at 11 o'clock this morning on the University of Portland campus at the Praying Hands/Broken Wall Memorial to honor veterans. Air Force and Army ROTC cadets will stand constant watch. It'll end with a retiring of the guard and a posting of colors during a ceremony on Friday at 11 a.m. Brigadier General Donna Prigmore, Commander of the Oregon National Guard, will speak at the event. It's open to the public. The ceremony has been held for more than 60 years.

Ballot Measures Remain Close

(Salem, OR) -- Two Oregon Ballot measures are still very close from Tuesday's election. Ballot Measure 111, health care, is ahead by less than one-percent. Measure 114, gun restrictions, leads by more than one-percent.

Ski Season Starts Friday At Timberline Lodge

(Timberline Lodge, OR) -- Timberline Lodge has announced ski season starts Friday. They will have two lifts, Bruno and Pucci, in operation. More lifts will start running as the snow base increases. The ski area will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mt. Hood Meadows and Mt. Bachelor both plan to open on November 25th.

Portland Council County Commission

(Portland, OR) -- Incumbent Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is losing her race for re-election. Rene Gonzales leads Hardesty 56 to 43-percent. In the race for Multnomah County Commission Chair Jessica Vega Pederson leads Sharon Meieron 52-percent to 48-percent.

Oregon Congressional

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon appears to be on track to have a second Republican member of Congress. In the race for the 5th District, Republican Lori Chavez-Deremer leads Jamie McLeod-Skinner by about five-percent. She would join 2nd District Republican Cliff Bentz. In Oregon's other open Congressional district races, Democrat Val Hoyle leads Republican Alek Skarlatos in the 4th District and Democrat Andrea Salinas has a narrow lead over Republican Mike Erickson in the new 6th District.

Suspect Sentenced For Drug Trafficking

(Medford, OR) -- A Portland man has been sentenced to ten years in federal prison for transporting drugs. In March 2021, 29-year-old Jonathon Lawson was stopped on I-5 near Grants Pass and police opened a large tool case to find ten pounds of methamphetamine, 700 grams of counterfeit pills, body armor, and a gun. Also in the car they found more fentanyl pills, ammunition, another gun and drug paraphernalia. Lawson pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances.

$1 Million Powerball Ticket Sold In Salem

(Salem, OR) -- The big two-billion dollar Powerball jackpot winner came from California, but one ticket sold in Salem is worth one-million dollars. On November 2nd, a one-million dollar ticket was also sold in Portland. During this run up to the largest lottery jackpot ever in the U.S., the Oregon Lottery sold nearly 33-million dollars in tickets. Around a third of those sales will go to economic development, education, veterans services, and state parks.

Portland Council To Consider Fast Tracking Gun Violence Grants

(Portland, OR) -- Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is proposing that grants to gun violence prevention programs get fast tracked. On Wednesday, City Council will consider an ordinance that will allow the Community Safety Director to approve the grants, as long as they don't exceed 500-thousand dollars per agreement and the Council has the funding in the budget. The ordinance will end on June 30th of next year. It's an emergency ordinance and if it receives four out of five votes it'll go into effect immediately.

Small Town Mayor Charged With Attempted Murder

PARKDALE, OR -- The elected Mayor of a small town east of Biggs Junction faces a number of charges, including Attempted Murder, following an apparent road rage incident. According to the Hood River County Sheriff's Office, a family of four was southbound on Highway 281 at about 8:45 p.m. on Halloween. They were behind an SUV they described as driving erratically. The SUV pulled over abruptly, causing the driver of the family vehicle some concern, according to investigators. The family slowed to get a description of the suspect vehicle to report the erratic driving. As they passed the suspect vehicle, a man stepped out of the passenger side and fired multiple rounds from a handgun at the passing family, damaging their car. Two adults and two children, ages five and eight, were inside the victim vehicle at the time.  No one was injured.

On November 1, investigators identified and located the suspect vehicle, as well as the suspected shooter, Dowen Jones. Deputies from the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office contacted Jones in the City of Rufus, where he is the elected Mayor. He was arrested and lodged at Northern Oregon Regional Corrections (NORCOR) in The Dalles on one count of Attempted Murder and four counts of Attempted Assault in the First Degree. The investigation is ongoing.

Statewide Voter Turnout Lagging

CORVALLIS, OR -- Around 24% of Deschutes County voters have returned their ballots, as of Tuesday. But, a week before the 2022 midterms, statewide turnout is just 19%; lower than many experts expected at this point.

Campaigns are pushing their message hard and Chris Stout, Associate Professor of Political Science at Oregon State University, expects the gubernatorial race to send turnout upward in the next few days, "Maybe because it is a closer election than in the past, a lot of people are weighing their options more than when the election’s largely decided, and are taking a little more time before they turn it in."

He doesn’t think overall turnout will be significantly lower than the 2018 mid-terms, when it was just under 68%. But it’s possible some voters are simply turned off by the process, "There’s been a lot of negative advertising in the state. And there’s some work that shows at a point, people just get really sick of the negative advertising and just shut off politics." Stout adds, "I think [turnout] is particularly lagging amongst young voters, and so that’s probably not a good sign for Democrats. At least nationally, that has been the case." 

OSU Professor of Women and Gender studies Susan Shaw says hot-button issues like abortion have energized female voters, "Older women who fought long and hard for that, and who remember the pre-Roe days, and also now younger women who stand to lose their access to abortion rights." She says three women running for Governor of Oregon is likely to impact the demographics of voter returns, as well. She says turnout is critical to both parties, who are pushing not only to get people to vote, but to get the “right” people to vote. 


Gas, Diesel Price Decline Amid Debunked Rumors Of Diesel Shortage

PORTLAND, OR -- Pump prices fell again this week, pushed by lower demand and crude oil prices. The national average for regular lost two cents, landing at $3.76, while Oregon’s average dropped 11 cents to $4.95 a gallon. In Bend, drivers are paying an average of $5.03; seven cents less than a week ago. 

Some drivers have expressed worry about whispers of a diesel shortage. But, AAA-Oregon's Marie Dodds says that rumor is simply not true, "Diesel supplies are tight in parts of the U.S., especially in parts of the eastern U.S. However, there is no diesel shortage."

Dodds says concerns started when the U.S. Energy Information Administration released their weekly supply numbers, "The U.S. has 25.9 days’ worth of diesel supply." But she says many people have misinterpreted what that means, "What that number refers to is that if the U.S. didn’t produce diesel or import diesel, that would be the amount of diesel the U.S. has. Well, clearly, diesel production is not going to stop." She says neither is the importing of diesel. Dodds also points to other times in the past few years when the weekly supply numbers have briefly hovered around the same place. 

If there were a shortage, she says, diesel prices wouldn't be falling. The national average slipped a penny this week, to $5.31. Oregon’s average for a gallon of diesel dropped a nickel to $5.61.

Overall, the current trend for fuel prices is good news for drivers planning Thanksgiving road trips, "We don’t see anything that would send prices skyrocketing again. So, barring unforeseen events, pump prices should continue to fall for the next few weeks," says Dodds, "Now, with that said, is it possible that we will see small increases, especially in areas that get a lot of tourists for Thanksgiving? Yes."

Gas price averages in Portland, Medford and Bend all remain above $5 a gallon.


Service Dogs Graduate From Eastern OR Prison Program

PENDLETON, OR -- Inmates at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton celebrated graduation Monday; officially, it was a ceremonial "passing of the leash." Inmates, who have been training service animals for nearly two years, sent six of the dogs off with their new families.

Capt. Jeff Frazier says the dogs live in the cells with their trainers - Adults In Custody (AIC) who applied to be part of the program. "They get the unconditional love from the dogs and they truly gain a perspective of what it’s like to do good instead of being involved in negative and bad behaviors," says Frazier. At any given time, he says there are up to 16 dogs living in the prison and training with AICs, "You watch, and when they walk into a room, people smile. So, it lowers the tension for the institution and our staff and, in my opinion, makes it a safer place."

A team with a Salem-based non-profit drives to Pendleton every week to work with the trainers and dogs. The animals are then donated to disabled vets. Frazier says it's good for everyone involved, "It’s teaching them these valuable life skills. It’s changing the lives of the recipients - when we get these stories from people about the impact these dogs are having on their life; their quality of life."

The program has been offered for the last six years at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, through a partnership with Joys of Living Assistance Dogs - although, it was forced to take a two-year hiatus due to COVID. Monday's ceremony was the first graduation since the pandemic. Founding Director Joy St. Peter says the AICs exceeded her expectations, "They’re very hardened and then, over time, you see them being very caring and thoughtful and knowing how to communicate in not a demanding way or a forceful way."

Dogs are trained to help disabled veterans with everything from laundry to getting help in an emergency. 


New Report: Income Inequality Widens In Oregon

PORTLAND, OR -- A new report from the Oregon Center for Public Policy highlights the growing gap between Oregon’s wealthiest people and the middle class. Tyler Mac Innis studied newly available 2020 income tax data and found the top 0.1% earned, on average, $5.6 million in that first year of the pandemic. "The incomes of that group are the highest on record in the last four decades, and we’ve never seen a wider gap between that group of the top 1/10 of 1% and the Oregonians in the middle," Mac Innis tells KBND News. 

While incomes for the richest soared to new heights, median earnings remained stagnant - right around $39,000. Mac Innis estimates it would take that median Oregonian 143 years to earn what that top 0.1% made in 2020, "There’s no way that the folks at the very top are working 143 times as hard as the Oregonian in the middle, or are 143 times as creative or innovative."

His research found that level of income inequality effects everyone, "Income inequality slows our economy’s growth overall. So, that has real impacts on innovation, investment and things like that. So, advancing public policies to really ensure that our state’s prosperity is shared more widely can actually have broader positive impacts on our state economy and society at large." Mac Innis says the current record level of inequality could affect everything from social mobility to physical health.

Graph courtesy Oregon Center for Public Policy


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