Regional News Archives for 2023-03

Child Survives Third Floor Window Fall

(Hillsboro, OR) -- A child was not seriously injured after falling from a third-floor window in the Bethany neighborhood Wednesday afternoon. Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue reports the child climbed on a couch and fell through the screen of an open window. The child was taken to a hospital for evaluation. Firefighters warn that as temperatures get warmer, parents need to secure windows, so they don't open more than four inches. It's also important to keep beds, couches and other furniture away from windows.

Sewer Overflow Into Willamette River

(Salem, OR) -- Raw sewage flowed into the Willamette River at Salem on Wednesday. The City of Salem says a tide gate became stuck open due to solids that collected in the line and raw sewage flowed into the river at one gallon a minute, which is too slow to trigger an alarm. The problem was noticed during an inspection. 68-hundred gallons of raw sewage flowed into the river. The flow was stopped Wednesday morning.

Suspect Laughs Chasing Pedestrians With Forklift

(Portland, OR) -- A man is facing charges after allegedly stealing a forklift in downtown Portland and then laughing "maniacally" as he chased pedestrians. The suspect stole a forklift from a parking garage. A witness told police she saw him drive onto a sidewalk and then chased pedestrians while laughing and yelling "I literally stole this." No one was injured. A police officer arrived and the suspect drove toward the patrol car and stopped. Thirty-year-old Joffre Zelinski told the officer there might be a federal warrant for his arrest. He was taken into custody for burglary, theft, and driving a stolen vehicle.

School Threat Not Credible

(Vancouver, WA) -- Things are getting back to normal at a Clark County middle school following threats of violence earlier this week. The Clark County Sheriff's Office says it investigated the potential threat against Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Vancouver on Wednesday and Thursday. School officials called police after a student reported hearing another student make the threat. Deputies questioned the student and their parents. The student didn't have access to weapons, but was kept home from school on Thursday. A second student was also reported yesterday. The Sheriff's Office says neither student posed a credible threat.

Drug Dealer Sentenced

(Portland, OR) -- A Salem man will spend the next 12 years in federal prison after he was caught transporting several dozen pounds of methamphetamine. Court documents indicate that in April of 2019, 51-year-old David Contreras, also known as Jorge Castillo-Gomez, and an accomplice, were stopped for speeding on I-5 northbound near Central Point. In the car, Oregon State Police found more than 33 pounds of meth. They also seized nine-thousand dollars in cash, and a gun. Contreras pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to prison on Wednesday.

Oregon Senate Passes Oregon CHIPS Bill

(Salem, OR) -- A bill with bipartisan support has passed the Oregon Senate that would make 200-million dollars available to help businesses apply for federal CHIPS Act money. 190-million dollars would help businesses apply for the federal money and 20-million dollars would go to land acquisition and university research. The goal is to attract a semiconductor manufacturing plant. The bill would also allow the Governor to site up to eight locations outside of the Urban Growth Boundary after going through a public process. Opponents say the legislature should wait until the May revenue forecast to make sure budget cuts aren't needed. The bill moves to the House.

Wrong Way Driver Causes Crash

(Portland, OR) -- Police say a wrong-way driver in a stolen vehicle caused a crash in Northwest Portland Tuesday night. The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office says deputies stopped the SUV in a North Portland parking lot. The driver rammed the patrol car and fled onto I-5 southbound. The deputies ended the pursuit and when the driver reached Northwest Portland, they went the wrong way on I-405 and crashed head-on with another vehicle at Northwest Glisan Street. The suspect driver and passenger suffered serious injuries. The driver of the car that was hit suffered moderate injuries. A third car couldn't stop and also crashed. A child in that car was hospitalized as a precaution. The suspect is being investigated for driving under the influence of narcotics.

OHA Denies Legacy Request To Close Birth Center

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Health Authority has denied a request from Legacy Health to close the Family Birth Center at Mount Hood Medical Center. Legacy closed the birth center before getting approval and started sending patients to Randall Children's Hospital. OHA says Legacy didn't meet the requirements for the waiver. OHA is investigating Legacy's closure of the Birth Center. Legacy Health says they're reviewing the letter from the OHA. Due to lack of adequate physician staffing they will continue to divert patients. After talking with the OHA they'll announce their plans.

Rare Sandy River Smelt Run

 

(Portland, OR) -- There will be a limited time smelt fishery on the Sandy River for the first time since 2015. Smelt are six to nine inch long fish that spend most of their life in the ocean before returning to the Columbia River to spawn. Most adults die shortly after spawning, so it's not uncommon to see large numbers of dead smelt along the river. They're caught using a dipnet. The fishery will be open this Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. from the mouth of the Sandy River to the Stark Street Bridge with a limit of 10 pounds per person. Each dipper needs a valid 2023 Oregon angling license.

Gun Control Bill Considered In Legislature

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that would put most of Ballot Measure 114 into effect. The voter approved ballot measure would put restrictions on gun purchases, but it's been placed on hold in the courts. Senate Bill 348 would add a 150-dollar gun fee permit, require training, limit purchases to people older than 21 and implement many other aspects of Measure 114. Two hours of public testimony were taken Monday night with most comments in opposition to the bill.

Oregon Receives Nearly $50-Million For Housing

(Washington, D.C.) -- The federal government is sending nearly 50-million dollars to programs in Oregon that prevent homelessness. 54 nonprofits will receive money from the Continuum of Care Program. The grants support nonprofits and local government programs that work to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma of being houseless. They work to help families and individuals become self-sufficient.

Nurses & Hospitals Agree To Staffing Bill

(Salem, OR) -- Nurses, hospital workers and hospitals in Oregon have reached agreement on a bill in the legislature to manage staffing levels. Key components of the bill include the nation's first nurse-to-patient ratios in a state statute. They include emergency departments, intensive care, labor and delivery, and operating rooms. Committees will be established to determine staffing levels for other hospital care providers including respiratory therapists, psychologists, pharmacists and other workers. The bill remains under consideration in the legislature.

Magic Mushrooms Found During Traffic Stop

(Sheridan, OR) -- A traffic stop by Oregon State Police uncovered a stash of magic mushrooms. A trooper stopped a car on Highway 18 near Sheridan for driving 86 miles an hour in a 55 mile an hour zone. The driver appeared to be impaired and was arrested for DUI. A search of the vehicle found nearly 300 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, multiple guns and a scale. The driver was taken to a medical center for a blood sample before being cited and released.

Kotek Orders Flags Flown At Half-Staff

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has followed President Biden in ordering flags to be flown at half-staff to honor victims of the school shooting in Nashville. Kotek said she sends her deepest condolences to the victims and families impacted by the shooting. She says all students and staff deserve to be safe and feel safe at school. Flags will remain at half-staff through sunset on Friday.

Lawmakers Consider Insurance Coverage For Gender-Affirming Care

(Salem, OR) -- A bill progressing through the Oregon Legislature would require insurance companies to cover certain gender-affirming medical procedures. The measure compels Medicaid and private insurers to include laser hair removal and facial feminization surgeries in their definitions of gender-affirming care. A national poll released this week showed that just one in six people who identify as trans have had an appearance-altering surgery.

Preschool For All Tax

(Portland, OR) -- Multnomah County is sending notices to nearly 300-thousand households that they might need to pay the Preschool for All Personal Income Tax. It was approved by voters in 2020, and connects three- and four-year-olds with preschool programs. A little over 700 slots were funded in the first year. Students will be added until 2030 when the program will cover all children. The tax applies to single filers making over 125-thousand dollars a year or joint filers making over 200-thousand dollars. The tax needs to be paid separately at Pro.Portland.Gov. Some tax software does include the tax.

Invasive Japanese Beetle Threatens Northwest Agriculture

(Washington County, OR) -- A growing population of invasive beetles is threatening agriculture across western Oregon. Ag officials say the Japanese beetle poses a multi-million-dollar threat to the industry if the pests are left unchecked. The insect has few natural predators in the Northwest region, so Washington and Oregon have begun using acelepryn [[ a-SELL-a-prin ]], a low-risk insecticide, to prevent larvae from reaching their voracious adult forms.

$170-Million In P-EBT Cards For Children

(Salem, OR) -- Parents of children who receive food benefits need to watch the mail. The Oregon Department of Human Services is mailing 170-million dollars in Pandemic EBT food benefits to 434-thousand children. Each card will contain 391-dollars in food benefits. These will be separate from the regular EBT card. The cards will be sent out starting this month through the end of May. The additional benefits are part of the P-EBT program which is a temporary COVID-19 response program to help families affected by COVID-19.

Three Killing In North Portland Shooting

(Portland, OR) -- Three people were killed in a shooting Saturday afternoon in North Portland. Police responded to North Foss Avenue and Foss Court where the victims were found in a car. All three people died at the scene. Police say the suspects were gone when officers arrived. No arrests have been made.

Zoo Prepares For Pika Count

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Zoo needs help counting pikas in the Columbia River Gorge. Pika are small potato-sized members of the rabbit family, known for their squeak-toy alarm calls. Pikas are normally found in higher elevations, and this is the lowest elevation where the species is found. Scientists watch this group, because their habitat and temperature may make them especially vulnerable to global warming. The zoo is offering courses in May on how to take part in the count.

One Killed In Crash Of Stolen Truck

(Washougal, WA) -- The driver of a stolen pickup was killed in a crash early Sunday morning near Washougal. The Clark County Sheriff's Office says the truck went off Washougal River Road and hit a tree. The driver was seriously injured and died at a hospital. The medical examiner will confirm the man's identity. The truck had been stolen from Portland.

Police Recommend Anti-Theft Device For Vehicle Owners

(Gresham, OR) -- Gresham Police are warning vehicle owners to use anti-theft devices after a woman's car was stolen three days after she bought it. Brianna Walker is a food delivery driver and had just bought the 2020 Kia Sportage for her job. The car was stolen around 6:15 Sunday morning from near Northeast 162nd and Holladay Street. It's a four-door Kia Sportage that was burnt copper in color and doesn't have plate. A window was broken out to gain access to the vehicle. Police say steering wheel locks will help prevent auto thefts.

Whale Watching Week Begins

(Newport, OR) -- Gray whales are starting their trek north from the Baja Peninsula to the Gulf of Alaska. Tuesday marks the start off Spring Whale Watching Week along the Oregon Coast. Oregon State Parks has 17 locations at viewpoints where volunteers will be available to help show you what to look for. Eighteen-thousand whales take part in the migration. The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with interactive whale exhibits and views to watch for the whales. The Oregon State Parks website has a list of viewpoints where volunteers are located.

70-Foot Blue Whale Skeleton To Be Preserved

(Newport, OR) -- A rare 70-foot long blue whale skeleton that washed onto an Oregon beach in 2015 will be moved to Canada where it'll be preserved. The last blue whale skeleton found on an Oregon beach was 200 years ago. The Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute raised 250-thousand dollars for the project and they need an additional 150-thousand dollars to complete the restoration. Alberta, Canada based Dinosaur Valley Studios will preserve the 365 bones. The longest bones are 18-foot jaw bones. It'll take months to complete the work. The skeleton will eventually go on display at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Biden To Launch 3-Week Travel Blitz Touting Economic Agenda

(Washington, DC) -- President Biden's getting ready to hit the road to tout his economic achievements and plans in a tour that will bring him to Oregon and several other states. The White House announced today that Biden will start what the administration calls his Investing in America tour on Tuesday. He and other administration officials will cover more than 20 states over the next three weeks, highlighting Biden's economic agenda and investments through legislation passed last year. Biden will kick off the tour with a visit to a chips manufacturer in North Carolina. Other stops will include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.

Drug Dealer Sentenced To 10 Years

(Portland, OR) -- A Portland drug dealer with a lengthy criminal history was sentenced to ten years in federal prison after being caught transporting drugs to Central Oregon. In 2021, Bend Police were tipped that Jason Melcado was traveling to Bend with a load of illegal drugs. They arrested him and searched his vehicle. They found nearly a thousand fentanyl pills, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine along with a pistol that had the serial number etched off. Melcado pleaded guilty of possession with intent to distribute.

Retail Theft Suspect Sentenced To Prison

(Oregon City, OR) -- A major retail theft suspect has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty. The Clackamas County District Attorney says Martin Castaway was responsible for stealing more than 30-thousand dollars in merchandise from Fred Meyer and Dick's Sporting Goods stores. He was arrested in January by U.S. Marshals. He had an extensive previous criminal record that led to a stronger sentence of six years in prison.

Clackamas Stops Purchase Of Transition Hotel

(Oregon City, OR) -- The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners is changing direction for how it deals with homelessness. Instead of buying a hotel that would be used for transitional housing they'll study homelessness. County Board Chair Tootie Smith reversed her vote that would have approved the purchase of a Quality Inn under Project Turnkey. Smith wants to hold summits to study homelessness solutions and convene a Blue Ribbon Committee to consider those solutions. She also wants voters to decide whether Measure 110, that reduced penalties for possession of small amounts of illegal drugs, should be overturned.

Bodies Of Missing Mother, Daughter Found

(Vancouver, WA) -- The bodies of a missing woman from Vancouver and her daughter have been found in a rural area near Washougal. Police say 27-year-old Meshay Melendez and her 7-year-old daughter Layla Stewart were reported missing March 18th. They were last seen with Melendez's boyfriend, Kirkland Warren, on March 12th and her car was found abandoned near Vancouver Mall about a week later. Police arrested Warren on Sunday. He's charged with Tampering with a Witness, Violation of Domestic Violence orders, Assault, Drive-by Shooting and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. The Clark County Medical Examiner will confirm the identities and the causes of death.

Republican Leaders Call For Open OLCC Investigation

(Salem, OR) -- Republicans in the Oregon legislature want details of the investigation into the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission released. Senator Tim Knopp says there needs to be an independent investigation. The Oregon Attorney General is currently investigating allegations that OLCC executives, and others, were keeping rare bourbons for themselves. Knopp also says the list of people involved should be released. It's expected to include lawmakers, public officials, and management at OLCC. Knopp has made a public records request to get the list.

Legislature Passes Homelessness Package

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon legislature passed the homelessness funding package requested by Governor Tina Kotek. It dedicates 200-million dollars to address homelessness and affordable housing issues. Kotek released a statement thanking the lawmakers for bipartisan efforts and said she was, "deeply grateful to the housing providers, developers, landlords, advocates, impacted communities and elected leaders" who answered the call for help.

Senate Passes State Vegetable Bill

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Senate has passed a bill that will make the potato the state's official vegetable. It's the state's most widely cultivated vegetable crop on 44-thousand acres. Two-and-a-half billion pounds of potatoes are sold bringing in 216-million dollars to the state's economy. Senator Bill Hansell says Oregon is also the state where a favorite potato product was created, "The iconic tater-tot was developed by two brothers in Ontario, Oregon who also created the OreIda potato company." Potato farmers donate a million pounds of potatoes to the Oregon Food Bank each year. Oregon is the fourth largest potato producing state behind Idaho, Washington and Wisconsin. The bill now moves to the House.

Oregon Grants First Magic Mushroom Growing License

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Health Authority has issued the state's first psilocybin license to grow magic mushrooms. Satori Farms PDX is owned by Tori Armbrust. Oregon Psilocybin Services started taking applications for facilitators, manufacturers, service centers and laboratories in January. More licenses will be granted in the coming months. There are currently no facilities offering psilocybin services in Oregon, because those licenses haven't been granted. The Oregon Psilocybin Services website has details on license applications.

Strawberry Product Producer Recalls Frozen Berries

(Gresham, OR) -- A Gresham company is recalling products containing frozen strawberries that are linked to five cases of hepatitis-A in Washington state since March 13th. Scenic Fruit Company is voluntarily recalling frozen "Organic Strawberries" sold at Costco and a number of other stores, along with frozen "Organic Tropical Fruit Blend" sold at Trader Joe's. The Oregon Health Authority says so far, there are no Oregon cases of hepatitis-A linked to the strawberry products, but they're closely monitoring cases. If you have any of these products, return them to the store where you bought them or throw them out.

Bill Removes Residency Requirement From Assisted Suicide Law

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon House has passed a bill that removes the residency requirement for the doctor assisted suicide law. The requirement hasn't been enforced since the state settled a lawsuit over the constitutionality of the residency requirement. Opponents say the state should have fought the case harder. They're concerned the lack of a residency requirement will flood the state with people who want to use the law. Supporters say the court settlement requires the state to remove the residency requirement. The bill now moves to the Senate.

Oregon's Jobs Market Remains Steady

(Salem, OR) -- Employment in Oregon and unemployment remained fairly steady in February. The Oregon Employment Department reports the state lost 100 jobs and the unemployment rate declined from four-point-eight to four-point-seven percent. Manufacturing and financial activities lost jobs while construction, private education and government added jobs. Oregon's unemployment rate is nearly one-percent higher than the national average.

Spring Break Travel Advisory

(Portland, OR) -- If you're planning to leave early for Spring Break you might have to deal with snow in the mountains. A winter storm starting Thursday night could bring up to 12-inches of snow down to 15-hundred feet. Above 25-hundred feet 12 to 24 inches of snow could fall. Drivers should be prepared for winter conditions in the Coast Range and the Cascades. The Valley Floor could even see a wintery mix.

Tillamook Creamery Expands To Illinois

(Tillamook, OR) -- The Tillamook Creamery Association will open an ice cream manufacturing plant in Decatur, Illinois next year. The plant will make Tillamook family-size and food service size ice cream for distribution in the eastern U.S. Tillamook currently has two plants in Oregon, in Tillamook and Boardman. The new plant in Decatur will use the same facility as a previous ice cream manufacturer that closed. Tillamook's ice cream sales in the eastern U.S. have grown 60-percent over the last year.

Campgrounds To Close

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Parks Department is announcing the temporary closure of two popular Coastal parks starting this fall. They're making the announcement now, so campers have plenty of warning. Beverly Beach campgrounds will close September 5th to upgrade the park. Bullards Beach campgrounds will close October 15th for a main sewer line upgrade. The Bullards Beach day-use area, boat ramp, lighthouse and horse camp will remain open. All facilities at Beverly Beach will close. They'll reopen in 2024.

Investigation Into Woman's Death

(The Dalles, OR) -- The Wasco County Sheriff's Office is investigating a woman's death near The Dalles. Deputies responded to the area of Cherry Heights early Saturday morning for a death investigation. The Medical Examiner confirmed the death was a homicide and the victim was identified as Amanda Harman. Her cause of death hasn't been released. There has not been an arrest in the case and the Wasco County Sheriff's Office is asking for help identifying the suspect.

Police Seek Help Finding Mother And Daughter

(Vancouver, WA) -- Vancouver Police are asking for help finding a woman and her daughter. Twenty-seven-year-old Meshay Melendez and her eight-year-old daughter, Layla Stewart, were last seen in the early morning hours on March 12th near the Vancouver Mall. A vehicle that's believed to belong to Melendez was found a short distance away a week later. Melendez is five-foot-nine, 185 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Stewart is four feet tall, 50 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. Anyone with information on their whereabouts is urged to contact Vancouver Police.

OHA Warns Legacy About Birth Center Closure

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Health Authority is warning Legacy Health about closing the Family Birth Center at Mount Hood Medical Center. Nurses and staff say the birth center closed on Sunday. OHA says it has not granted Legacy's waiver and is in the process of reviewing Legacy's responses to questions from the OHA. They told Legacy they cannot stop providing maternity services without OHA approval of a waiver.

OHA Warns Legacy About Birth Center Closure

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Health Authority is warning Legacy Health about closing the Family Birth Center at Mount Hood Medical Center. Nurses and staff say the birth center closed on Sunday. OHA says it has not granted Legacy's waiver and is in the process of reviewing Legacy's responses to questions from the OHA. They told Legacy they cannot stop providing maternity services without OHA approval of a waiver.

Jury Duty Scam Intensifies

(Portland, OR) -- The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office is receiving more reports about the jury duty scam. In one case, the victim lost 15-hundred dollars. The scam caller poses as a sheriff's lieutenant or sergeant and claims the victim has missed a grand jury summons and must pay a fine or they'll be arrested. They use pressure tactics and try to keep the person from calling family or friends for advice. They say the victim can get reimbursed from the sheriff's office. If you're contacted by one of these people, don't send money. The sheriff's office never conducts a warrant service or payments of fines over the phone. If you're a victim of the scam call the sheriff's office non-emergency number.

Oregon House Passes Self-Service Gas Bill

(Salem, OR) -- All gas stations in Oregon would be allowed to offer self service gas under a bill that passed the Oregon House. Supporters say it would help station owners who have trouble finding enough workers and would still keep attendants. In larger counties, at least half of the pumps would be required to have attendants. Opponents are concerned about job losses and the impact on drivers with disabilities. Stations with self-service and attendants would be required to charge the same price for gas. The bill moves to the Senate for consideration.

Goose Hollow Homicide Arrest

(Portland, OR) -- A suspect has been arrested in connection with a homicide in the Goose Hollow neighborhood in 2021. Thirty-eight-year-old Bruce Chirre is charged with manslaughter in the death of 58-year-old Jack Dekker. The Medical Examiner hasn't released the cause of death. Chirre's wife, Karen Chirre, is also charged with Hindering Prosecution, Official Misconduct and Tampering with Physical Evidence. Chirre is an Administrative Supervisor for the Portland Police Bureau. She's been on administrative leave since April 2021 while an internal investigation is conducted.

House To Vote On Self-Service Gas

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon House is expected to vote today on a bill that would allow self-service gas statewide. Currently, self-serve gas is only allowed in counties with lower populations. Gas station owners say the low unemployment level makes it difficult for them to hire enough people to staff all of their pumps. This bill would require at least one attendant, and some of the pumps would continue to be served. The bill has bipartisan support.

Second Arrest In December Shooting

(Portland, OR) -- Portland Police have arrested a second suspect in a December shooting. The victim was shot outside of a bar on Southeast 82nd Avenue near Raymond in the Lents neighborhood. The victim survived his injuries. In January, police arrested 32-year-old Cody Ochs. On March 15th, United States Marshals arrested 24-year-old Edward Reyes. He's charged with Attempted Murder in the Second Degree.

Police Armored Vehicle Collision

(Portland, OR) -- A man suffered minor injuries after being hit at slow speed by a police armored vehicle on I-84 in Portland. Friday evening, the officer was driving the vehicle without lights and siren when traffic slowed near Northeast 82nd Avenue. A man was walking in traffic. As the officer approached the man he walked in front of the vehicle. The officer applied the brakes hard and the man was hit at slow speed. The man wasn't seriously injured. He was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Birth Center Closes

(Portland, OR) -- The Family Birth Center at Mount Hood Medical Center closed on Sunday. Pregnant women giving birth will now need to travel 17 miles to Randall Children's Hospital in Portland. Legacy Health says it's not financially possible to keep the birth center open. They applied for a waiver with the Oregon Health Authority last week to close the center. OHA has not acted on the request. Legacy Health could face regulatory action for closing the birth center without approval of the waiver.

Parking Permits Required for Multnomah Falls

(Portland, OR) -- Parking permits will be required to visit Multnomah Falls starting May 26th. The timed permits help to reduce congestion in the parking lot. The permits cost two-dollars and can be purchased online at recreation-dot-gov. A limited number of free permits will be available at the Gateway to the Gorge Visitor Center in Troutdale. The permits will be needed through September 4th. Permits will not be required this year to drive the Waterfall Corridor on the historic Highway 30.

Sandy Police Seek Carjacking Suspect

(Sandy, OR) -- Sandy Police are trying to locate a suspect in a carjacking. It happened Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot of Meinig Park. The suspect knew the victim and used a gun to steal the car. It's a gray 2004 Toyota Camry with an Oregon license plate. Officers located the car, but stopped a pursuit out of safety concerns. Anyone who sees the car is urged to contact Sandy Police.

Portland Police Add 15 Officers

(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Police Bureau has welcomed 15 new officers and nine professional staff members. Portland Police is working to recover from the lowest number of sworn members, which was 773 in September of 2022. There are now 810 sworn members with 108 officers in training. There are currently 314 patrol officers. PPB has hired 96 officers and 31 Public Safety Support Specialists since January of 2022, and the hiring effort continues. It takes nearly two years of training before a new officer is ready to work solo.

Police Seize $575,000 In Fentanyl

(Hillsboro, OR) -- A tip from narcotics officers in California helped police in the Portland area make a major drug bust. The Alameda County Sheriff's Office told the Washington County Sheriff's Office of a car heading toward the Portland area that likely had a load of bulk fentanyl. Officers with the Westside Interagency Narcotics team found the location, and the car. After getting search warrants, they recovered 150-thousand fentanyl pills and three kilograms of powder fentanyl. The street value would have been 575-thousand dollars.

Elk Fever Shooting

(Tillamook, OR) -- A hunter with a late season cow elk tag told Oregon State Police he was overcome with "elk fever" when he shot four elk. He had permission in January from a landowner to hunt near Nehalem. The 66-year-old man fired at the herd in the direction of Highway 101 and hit at least four elk. One of them died and troopers killed two that were mortally wounded. A fourth elk drowned in the Nehalem River. The hunter turned himself in and said he was sorry. He's been cited for shooting from a roadway, and illegally killing elk. The investigation continues.

Study Finds Lack Of Nursing Teachers Causing Nurse Shortage

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's nursing shortage is caused by a lack of teachers. A study by the Oregon Longitudinal Data Collaborative found that in 2020, more than 68-hundred people applied to nursing schools, but only 23 percent were accepted. Oregon doesn't have enough nursing instructors. The study shows that's because teacher pay is too low, and potential teachers go to work as nurses where they can make more money. The study recommends a review of nurse faculty salary, establishing a statewide centralized clinical placement system, and addressing what's necessary to expand education programs.

Oregon's EV Rebate Program Running Out Of Money

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's electric vehicle rebate program is running out of money and will temporarily stop on May 1st. Buyers of electric or hybrid vehicles can get a rebate up to 75-hundred dollars. The program is funded by a tax on all new vehicles. More than 15-million dollars in rebates this year will deplete the fund. Applications for the rebate are coming in at the highest level so far.

Legacy Closing Gresham Birth Center

(Portland, OR) -- Legacy Health has announced it will close the Mount Hood Medical Center Family Birth Center in Gresham on March 17th. After the closure, patients will have to travel 17 miles to the Family Birth Center at Randall Children's Hospital in North Portland. All pregnant patients with the Legacy Medical Group Mount Hood Women's Health clinic can deliver at Randall Children's Hospital. The Mount Hood Women's Health clinic will continue to offer prenatal and gynecological care at the clinic in Gresham. Legacy says it's in a severe financial crisis as a result of the pandemic and needs to close the birth center to reduce costs. The Oregon Health Authority has yet not granted a waiver for the closure.

Oregon House Passes Homelessness Crisis Bills

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon House has passed two bills to address the homeless crisis. The bills passed with bipartisan support. They fund the Governor's Homelessness State of Emergency with 130-million dollars, allocate 27-million dollars for homelessness solutions in rural counties not covered under the emergency declaration, and increases production of affordable housing. Renters facing eviction will also get more time to access rental assistance programs. The bills now move to the Senate.

Portland Passes Office-to-Housing Conversion Ordinance

(Portland, OR) -- Portland commercial building owners can save money if they convert it to housing. Portland City Council passed an ordinance that eliminates System Development Charges for seismic retrofitting up to three-million dollars. Another ordinance adjusts the seismic improvement standard to bring it in line with major cities in seismic areas, like San Francisco. The vacancy rate in the Central Business District is up nearly 26 percent and converting offices to housing would be an option for building owners and help with the lack of housing in the city.

Polver Nesting Sites Blocked On Oregon Beaches

(Corvallis, OR) -- Visitors to beaches in Oregon are warned to watch out for western snowy plover nesting sites. The birds are threatened and nest in the sand. Their colors make them easily blend into the sand. Oregon Parks and Rec ropes off the nesting sites, so they're easy to avoid. Plover beaches remain open to foot and equestrian traffic below the high-tide line on wet, packed sand. Dogs, vehicles, bikes, camping, burning, flying kites and operating drones are all banned on those beaches. The plover season continues through September 15th.

Oregon's Pay Equity Law Falls Short

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's law to bring pay equity in state jobs has fallen short. The Oregon Secretary of State's office released a report that examined pay in the Department of Administrative Services. It shows women earn 83 cents on the dollar compared to male counterparts, and that hasn't changed since 2015. Pay rates for people of color got worse. They earned 88 cents on the dollar, which was a decline of three cents. White employees received the largest pay adjustments in 2019 and 2022 while people of color received the smallest. The pay Equity Bill allows for some circumstances where wage gaps may be reasonable, such as differences in education, experience, or seniority.

Marion County Receives $12 Million For Wildfire Recovery

(Salem, OR) -- Marion County will receive 12-million dollars from the State of Oregon to help nearly 100 households still fighting to rebuild following the 2020 Beachie Creek and Lionshead wildfires. The money comes from 150-million dollars the Legislature approved in 2021. Households can apply for grants as long as their income doesn't exceed 120 percent of the median. The county says the money will be able to support most of the households currently case managed, except for those that exceed the income level.

OSP Settles With Family Over Fatal Officer Involved Shooting

(Salem, OR) -- A Southern Oregon family has a one-point-six million dollar settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit, and an apology from Oregon State Police, for the officer involved shooting death of 55-year-old Robert Box. It happened during a domestic disturbance in May of 2015. After eight years of legal wrangling, the State Court of Appeals ruled that troopers Gregor Smyth and Heather West were trespassing when they sneaked onto the family's property, and did not follow their training. The court also found evidence backing the family's claim that OSP kept Trooper Smyth as a patrol officer, despite a dangerous performance deficiency, rendering him unfit to be a state trooper.

Washington County To Buy Woodspring Apartments

(Tigard, OR) -- Residents of the Woodspring Apartments in Tigard have won a battle to keep rents low. The Low Income Housing Tax Credit on the building expired after 30 years and the owner was going to raise rent to market rates. 172 low-income seniors live in the apartments. They've lobbied Washington County to buy the apartments to keep rates low. The Washington County Housing Authority agreed to make a proposal to buy the apartments. The deal has not been finalized.

House Passes Bill To Ban Pet Store Sales Of Puppies And Kittens

(Salem, OR) -- New pet stores in Oregon would be banned from selling puppies and kittens under a bill that passed the Oregon House. There are six small pet stores in Oregon that currently sell puppies and kittens, and they would be allowed to continue those sales. The bill would prevent out-of-state mass breeders from selling animals in Oregon. California and Washington have similar bans. Representatives who opposed the bill said they don't like additional regulations on businesses. The bill moves to the Senate.

Air Quality Monitoring Following Diesel Fire

(The Dalles, OR) -- The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency have set up air monitors in The Dalles following a diesel fire last week. A tank at the AmeriTies West plant caught fire after it was cleaned. An explosion in the tank injured two firefighters. The monitors are checking for particulate matter and volatile organic compounds. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

Large Brawl Outside Tavern

(Lyons, OR) -- The Linn County Sheriff's Office is investigating a large brawl that happened outside of a bar in Lyons. Early Saturday morning, 911 received a call about a disturbance outside of the Red Barn Tavern. The caller reported 20 people fighting in the parking lot and one person had a knife. Oregon State Police responded with deputies. The man with the knife left before police arrived. A 27-year-old man from Lyons was treated and released from a hospital. No arrests were made. The investigation continues.

Grocery Store Shooting

(Vancouver, WA) -- One person was killed and three were wounded in a shooting late Saturday night in Vancouver. Police say several men got into a confrontation inside of a Safeway store on East Mill Plain Boulevard. As two of the men were leaving, the suspects fired multiple rounds at them. They got into a car and were driving to a nearby hospital when the suspects fired more shots. A 28-year-old man died. Three other men were hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Vancouver Police are investigating and there hasn't been an arrest.

Fentanyl Fumes Study

(Portland, OR) -- TriMet, Sound Transit and the University of Washington are conducting a study on second-hand fentanyl smoke in buses or trains. TriMet is seeing an increase in fentanyl smoking by passengers. There hasn't been much research on the effects of second-hand fentanyl smoke. Last April, TriMet began stopping trains and buses when there were reports of smoke fumes on board. The doors are opened to air out the vehicle before it returns to service. TriMet rules allow people who smoke to be cited or excluded from transit.

Recent Inmates 10x More Likely To Suffer Opioid Overdose

PORTLAND, OR -- A new study from Oregon State University, OHSU and the Department of Corrections reveals a higher rate of opioid overdose among recently freed convicts. According to the report, people recently released from prison are ten times more likely to overdose on opioids than the general population. 

OHSU’s Elizabeth Needham Waddell was one of the lead researchers and says part of the reason is their low tolerance at release, "Also, releasing from prison is very stressful; going back into community. Even if there is a longer period of abstinence while in prison, there can be a lot of pressure, internal pressure, external pressure, to return to use." The risk is especially high in the first two weeks of freedom, and OD rates among women are even higher.

Waddell says researchers looked at data from 2014 to ‘17, prior to the fentanyl crisis and before the Department of Corrections expanded access to medications for Opioid Use Disorder, "The results of this study really illustrate the need for that and the urgent need to increase treatment." She tells KBND News former invmats also need access to post-prison addiction services and overdose treatment, "Providing nasal Narcan kits at prison release, and also having Narcan readily available for free in community is life-saving." She adds, "We know that Narcan can usually reverse a heroin overdose with one kit - so, two squirts up the nose. But with fentanyl overdoses, they can require multiple doses to rescue."

Waddell says they are looking at new data and expect curretn numbers to be much higher, given the increased availability of fentanyl.

 

Homeless Pkg Likely To Advance In Salem

SALEM, OR -- Two bills from a package of legislation targeting homelessness and housing are expected to go before the full Oregon House this week for a vote. The Joint Ways and Means Committee held work sessions Friday for the bills that would send $200 million to several state agencies for programs to reduce homelessness and increase housing.

Rep. David Gomberg (D-Lincoln Co.) urges passage of HB 5019, "What we’re talking about here is funding the Governor’s Executive Order for homelessness, for providing roughly $27 million for those 26 rural counties that could not be included in the Governor’s Executive Order, and finally, to provide roughly $24 million for homeless youth."

Rep. Andrea Valderrama (D-E. Portland) is pleased with the progress, "This estimated $200 million investment is the result of Democrats and Republicans coming together to deliver meaningful outcomes for the people of Oregon. Oregonians are clear that this must be our top priority, so we’re making the unprecedented push to have this on the Governor’s desk by this month."

Sen. Fred Girod (R-Stayton) worries it’s too much, too fast, "I just really have the feeling that we are throwing money at a problem at a rate that the money can’t be absorbed." And Rep. E. Werner Reschke (R-Crater Lake) is concerned about accountability for the spending, "[House Bill] 2001 and 5019 are starting points for this conversation, and I appreciate that; I really do. But it can’t come with this kind of price tag. I think we need to get innovative. We need to rethink how we address these particular issues. My big concern is: do we run out of money at the end of the biennium?" In response to that concern, agency heads told the committee advance work is already underway to make sure programs can start as soon as the funding is approved.

Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-N.E. Portland) is a Committee Co-Chair. She believes reporting requirements will keep agencies accountable, and says more bills are coming to shore up the effort, "We are sitting in a place where we’re putting a lot of resources in the direction that we feel is absolutely necessary at this moment. And, just to be clear: It is our job to have a balanced budget at the end. And we will make hard decisions about what we can and cannot spend money on."

 

Fire Under Steel Bridge Injures One

(Portland, OR) -- One person was injured in a fire that was burning in the structure that supports a ramp for the Steel Bridge in Portland. When firefighters arrived, they found smoke coming from a cinder block wall. They used sledgehammers to break through the wall and found homeless people were living inside. One person was hospitalized with serious burn injuries and smoke inhalation. Firefighters put out the fire. The ramp to the Steel bridge was closed while it and the bridge are inspected.

FBI Offers Reward In Substation Attacks

(Portland, OR) -- A 25-thousand dollar reward is being offered by the FBI for attacks on power substations in Oregon and Washington. Vandals struck a facility in Tumwater, Washington on November 22nd, resulting in a power outage affecting 52-hundred people. Two days later, someone shot at the Bonneville Power substation in Oregon City. Investigators found a hole cut in the perimeter fence at that facility. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI.

Oregon Spring Cleanup Registration Begins

(Portland, OR) -- SOLVE's Spring Cleanup will be held on Earth Day, April 22nd and registrations are now being taken. The events include beach cleanups, restoration events and urban litter cleanup projects. Last year, over 35-hundred volunteers removed 44-thousand pounds of litter and debris statewide. You can sign up at Solve Oregon dot org. Most of the events will be held on Earth Day, but several projects will be held between April 15th and the 23rd.

Respiratory Infections Decline In Oregon

(Portland, OR) -- The respiratory virus season in Oregon is ending. Oregon State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger says it was the combination of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV. Sidelinger says 87 percent of Oregonians have received the basic vaccinations for COVID, 78-percent have received at least one booster and 25-percent have gotten the bivalent booster. Cases of respiratory infections are trending down and hospitalizations are slowly declining. Sidelinger says people should still have a plan to protect themselves from COVID, get tested if you get sick, if you test positive let people who might have been exposed know, and stay home for at least five days.

Portland Announces First City-Sanctioned Homeless Camp

(Portland, OR) -- Portland's first city-sanctioned homeless camp will be located on the central eastside on Southeast Gideon Street. Mayor Ted Wheeler says City Council has approved up to six of these camps. Wheeler says the goal is to have it operational by summer. It'll have 100 tents and house up to 150 people. It'll have power, restrooms and other services. Areas for pets and common areas. Weapons will be checked, no unsanctioned camps will be allowed a thousand feet around the camp and the surrounding area will be patrolled by the operator 16 hours a day. A group called Urban Alchemy, that runs similar camps in California, will operate the site. It has support of the Central Eastside Industrial Council.

Suspect Arrested In String Of Robberies

(Vancouver, WA) -- Vancouver Police have arrested a suspect in connection with a string of robberies last month. On February 26th, four convenience stores were robbed within a one-hour period. On Wednesday, Clark Regional SWAT served a warrant on a house in Vancouver and recovered evidence from the robberies and a stolen handgun. A 16-year-old boy was taken into custody and booked into the Clark County Juvenile Justice Center on three counts of Robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm and taking a vehicle without permission.

Remains Found In Wooded Area Not A Suspicious Death

(Milwaukie, OR) -- Milwaukie Police say the death of a person in a wooded area near Harmony Road is not suspicious and there's no danger to the public. Human remains were found on Tuesday and the Clackamas County Medical Examiner is working to determine the cause of death and the person's identity. Detectives are asking anyone with information about people who lived in the wooded area to contact Milwaukie Police.

Ratney Nomination To Proceed After State Department Changes

(Washington, D.C.) -- Oregon Senator Ron Wyden says the U.S. State Department has agreed to change its policy regarding foreign officials who help foreign nationals flee the country to avoid prosecution. The suspect in the fatal hit-and-run of Fallon Smart in Portland was believed to get help from Saudi officials to return to his country, so he wouldn't be prosecuted. Wyden was holding up the nomination of Michael Ratney, for ambassador to Saudi Arabia, until the policy was changed. Wyden says he'll now allow the nomination to proceed.

Parolees At Higher Risk Of Overdose After Release From Prison

(Portland, OR) -- People recently released from prisons in Oregon face a risk for opioid overdose ten times greater than the general public. Researchers at OSU, OHSU and PSU studied inmates who were paroled and found the risk of overdose was highest in the first two weeks after release. The risk was highest among women and people with mental health or substances abuse disorder treatment needs. They say the study shows it's important to develop ways to help reduce the risk including providing Narcan which can help reverse the effects of an overdose.

Wheeler Plans Homeless Camp Update

(Portland, OR) -- Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says several solutions are needed to solve the homeless crisis. He says the lack of affordable housing is the main reason people are living on the streets. Drug use and a lack of behavioral health services make the problem worse. City Council has approved building city-sanctioned homeless camps to improve services. Wheeler will hold a news conference tomorrow to update the city's progress finding locations for the camps.

Officers Injured When Suspect Rams Patrol Car

(Portland, OR) -- Two Portland Police officers are recovering from minor injuries after a suspect allegedly crashed into their patrol car while trying to elude them. It happened early yesterday morning after officers responded to reports of a man passed out in a truck with the engine running. Police saw a gun in the center console. Officers put spike strips under the wheels and used sirens and loud speakers in an attempt to wake the man. Police say it took several attempts until the man finally awoke and drove away with deflated tires, eventually crashing into a patrol car at Southeast 119th and Powell. Police arrested 42-year-old Jeremiah Prueitt on ten charges.

Gas Prices Rise With Switch To Summer Blends

(Portland, OR) -- The price of gas is increasing across the country and in Oregon. Triple-A reports refineries are starting to make summer blends of fuel that produce less pollution and that's causing the prices to rise. The national average increased six cents to three-dollars-and-42-cents a gallon and Oregon's average increased two cents to three-91. Diesel in Oregon declined three cents to four-72 a gallon.

Jantzen Beach Carousel Needs Owner

(Portland, OR) -- The historic Jantzen Beach Carousel is looking for a permanent home. The nonprofit preservation organization Restore Oregon is searching for a community or entity to assume ownership of the 100-year-old attraction. Restore Oregon says when they accepted the donation of the carousel in 2017 it was meant to be temporary. If they don't find a new owner in Oregon by September 15th they may be forced to look outside of the state.

Five Heat Deaths During 2022 Heat Waves

(Portland, OR) -- Five people died from heat during the summer of 2022 in the Portland area. The Multnomah County Medical Examiner investigated eight deaths that occurred during excessive heat and determined five deaths were caused by hyperthermia. Four of the deaths happened during a week long stretch of hot weather in July. The fifth person died in August when temperatures were above 100 degrees. One person who died was homeless. The four other victims died in buildings. One person died in a house, two died on the fourth floor of an apartment building and one died on the sixth floor. The lack of air conditioning or fans was a significant factor in the deaths.

Human Remains Found In Wooded Area

(Milwaukie, OR) -- A death investigation is underway in Milwaukie after human remains were found in a wooded area off Harmony Road. The Clackamas County Medical Examiner is investigating the cause and manner of death. It's unknown how long the remains were there. Police say there's little known about the person and they're asking anyone with information about individuals who camp in the area that might be related to the death to contact investigators.

Pennsylvania Man Convicted Of Causing Fentanyl Deaths In Oregon

(Portland, OR) -- A federal jury in Portland found a Pennsylvania man guilty of distributing fentanyl that caused three people in Oregon to overdose, killing two of them. Court documents show 37-year-old Henry Koffie, who lived in Darby, Pennsylvania, used the names DNMKingpin and Narcoboss on dark web sites to sell fentanyl. He then shipped it through the Postal Service. The first known victim was a 19-year-old Portland State University student who was saved with Narcan. The two victims who died were both 27-years-old. Evidence showed they bought fentanyl from Koffie. Federal investigators also made five controlled buys receiving drugs from Narcoboss. Koffie will be sentenced in May and could face life in prison.

Stolen Boat Recovered And Returned

(Woodburn, OR) -- A boat that was stolen in Garibaldi was found by the Marion County Sheriff's office in Woodburn. The boat is owned by the Port of Garibaldi and used for law enforcement. Someone who saw a post on Facebook about the boat being stolen early Tuesday morning reported it and deputies found the truck towing the boat and stopped it. Three people in the truck were arrested and booked into the Marion County jail. The boat was returned to Garibaldi.

Leaders Push For More Higher Ed Funding In Oregon

CORVALLIS, OR -- College students face staggering debt at levels not seen in previous generations. At an Oregon State University “College Affordability Summit” Tuesday, the head of Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) and the Chair of the State House Higher Education Committee discussed what changes need to be made. 

HECC administers the state’s financial aid programs. Executive Director Ben Cannon says the rate of assistance has not kept up with the actual cost of attending college. Students now face a level of unaffordability not seen before and Cannon wants more public investment, "I just think there is no way around that. You cannot continue to ask students to bear a greater and greater proportion of the costs of attending public higher education, which is what we’ve long been doing as a state."

Rep. John Lively believes the state’s budgeting process could change. Right now, he says, higher ed is an afterthought, when most of the state’s budget is already allocated, "We commit to K-12 early in the session, to commit how much money is going to be there. And we do that, and we vote on it and here it is.  But we’ve never done that with higher education. In many cases, it’s at the end." He’s frustrated the $3.9 billion kicker can’t be used to fund higher education, "That just reinforces from my standpoint: there’s enough money, we’re able to raise enough money in the system to fund things correctly. We just have to figure out the process. I would love to see us repeal the 2% kicker."

Lively announced plans for a legislative task force, "This task force is indeed going to look at funding for higher education, with the hopes it will be ready by the ‘25 session, to address this huge gap that’s grown over the years of the state’s support for higher education. I don’t go in with any pretense of what the answer is; but if we don’t have the conversation that we’re serious about doing something about funding for higher education, the increments will never get us there."

Cannon wants to also see the state create pathways from birth through age 20, to ensure education resources are distributed equitably. He says improving access to higher education benefits the entire community, pointing out low-income Oregonians with a college degree are more than twice as likely to pull themselves out of poverty by their 30s, compared to peers without a degree. However, only 6% of university students in Oregon are low-income. "We are instead disproportionately giving that advantage, conferring that advantage on folks, like me, who grew up with advantage already." He also says applying for financial aid and navigating the transfer process from community college to four-year institutions can be so frustrating, students give up. Cannon wants to see those processes streamlined with more guidance for families.

 

 

Hiker Killed In Fall

(Pacific City, OR) -- Authorities say a hiker was killed in a fall Saturday at Cape Kiwanda State Park, north of Pacific City. Oregon State Police say 25-year-old Henry Minh Hoang, from West Covina, California, was hiking beyond a safety fence and fell 20-feet into a punch bowl. He was knocked unconscious and swept into the ocean by the waves. A search was launched but had to be suspended on Saturday due to darkness. Searchers found Hoang's body Sunday afternoon on the shoreline at the base of a nearby cliff.

34 Suspects Arrested During Shoplifting Mission

(Portland, OR) -- Nearly three-dozen people are facing charges following a police crackdown on shoplifting in Portland. The Portland Police Bureau says officers arrested 34 people during a shoplifting mission in the Mall 205 and Gateway areas. Twenty-eight of the suspects had previous warrants. Officers recovered seven stolen cars. Three-thousand dollars worth of merchandise was recovered. This is the third shoplifting mission since December.

Two Juveniles Arrested For Alleged Threat

(Aumsville, OR) -- The Marion County Sheriff's Office arrested two juveniles for an alleged threat against Cascade Junior High School. On Saturday, Aumsville Police received a report about a threat that was made via text message to bring a gun to the school. On Sunday, police arrested two boys, ages eleven and 12, for Disorderly Conduct. Police will have extra presence at the school today.

Kotek Appoints Members To Housing Production Advisory Council

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has announced appointment of 25 people to her Housing Production Advisory Council. Kotek set a goal of building 36-thousand homes per year to meet the state's housing crisis. The council will develop an action plan to meet the goal. Members of the committee come from across the state. Their first meeting will be on Friday and they have until April 1st to develop a framework for their action plan.

Over $2 Million In Illegal Marijuana Seized

(Scappoose, OR) -- The Columbia County Sheriff's Office made a major illegal marijuana bust last week. They served warrants in Scappoose, Deer Island, and Clatskanie. They seized over 66-hundred plants, 133 pounds of pot and over 69-thousand dollars in cash. The marijuana had a street value of two-point-one million dollars. Sheriff Brian Pixley says these are the first of many search warrants their Street Crimes unit plans to serve over the next few years.

Psilocybin Program Licenses Granted

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's psilocybin program is still being developed. Part of that process includes licensing manufacturers, laboratories and people who will administer the drug. The Oregon Health Authority has released the first numbers on how much progress is being made. Oregon Psilocybin Services has approved 39 worker permits. The agency has not yet approved licenses for any psilocybin facilities, although, it's received 21 applications since January second.

False Emergency Thefts

(Portland, OR) -- Portland Police are warning about suspects who tell drivers there's a false emergency to victimize them. Within a half hour Sunday afternoon, the suspect told one driver her gas tank was on fire. She pulled over and they stole her purse. The next victim was told their car was on fire, and when they pulled over the suspects stole the car. In the third case, the suspects tried to force the driver to pull over. The driver got around the suspects and left the scene. It was a vehicle similar to the other two incidents. Police say if something like this happens, get to a safe location to check your vehicle.

Chimney Fire Damages Home

(Hillsboro, OR) -- Residents in a Hillsboro home are uninjured after waking to find smoke coming from their fireplace into their house. It happened Saturday morning. Officials say the siding outside of the chimney was also on fire. Residents tried to put out the fire. When firefighters arrived they found flames in the attic and moving into the garage. The residents and two dogs safely got out of the house and the fire was put out. Firefighters say it's important to have chimneys inspected to prevent fires.

Amtrak Resumes Trips To Canada

(Portland, OR) -- Amtrak is resuming direct service between Portland and Canada today. The Amtrak Cascades will leave Portland at 3:05 in the afternoon and arrives in Vancouver, B.C. at 11 p.m. The return train leaves Vancouver just before seven in the morning. Tickets start at 134 dollars.

National Guard Demobilization

(Hermiston, OR) -- More than 75 Oregon Army National Guard Citizen Soldiers had their demobilization ceremony on Sunday in Hermiston. The Oregon soldiers were combined with two Army National Guard companies from Montana as part of Task Force Griz, supporting the United States Center Command in the Middle East. Their mission was to deter foreign influence and reassure allies within the Middle East. They were mobilized on November 4th. During their deployment, they also took part in a multinational military exercise involving 29 other partner nations in Jordan.

Enhanced Shoplifting Patrol

(Portland, OR) -- Portland Police teamed up with Multnomah County Sheriff's deputies on Sunday to target shoplifters at Mall 205. They work with loss prevention officers in stores who alert police to alleged shoplifters and police stop them. Officers say the suspects are also often associated with stolen cars and illegal drugs. This is the third shoplifting sting near the mall over the last few months.

Suspect Arrested In 1988 Murder

(Hillsboro, OR) -- A suspect has been arrested in connection with a 1988 murder. Washington County Sheriff's detectives working with the District Attorney's office reopened the case. Working with a grant from the Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA program they developed evidence against 68-year-old Robert Atrops in the murder of his estranged wife Deborah Atrops. Robert Atrops was indicted by a grand jury and arrested at his home in Newberg. He's being held without bail at the Washington County Jail.

Armed Teen Arrested After Threat To Campus

(Salem, OR) -- Salem Police arrested an armed teenager after a threat at South Salem High School on Wednesday. A person reported to 911 seeing a video on social media of a student claiming to be at the school with a gun. Officers located the student, who ran. Officers stopped the teen and found a knife. They searched his backpack and car, and located a loaded gun. The teen was arrested and booked into the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center.

Senators Reintroduce Bill To Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent

(Washington, D.C.) -- Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 12th, and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and a bipartisan group of senators want to make it permanent. They're reintroducing legislation that would end the change and keep the country on Daylight Saving Time all year long. They say it would reduce car crashes, reduce cardiac issues associated with the time change, and benefit the economy.

Portland Police Roll Out New Vehicle Design

(Portland, OR) -- You'll start seeing new Portland Police SUVs on the road starting next week. The Ford Interceptors are all-wheel-drive hybrid vehicles. They have improved front bumpers, the LED emergency lights reduce their intensity at night, so they're not blinding to drivers, and the emergency lights are connected to the atomic clock, allowing them to flash at the same rate when there are several vehicles at a scene, to avoid chaotic strobing. The new vehicles are black, instead of dark blue, because Ford no longer makes the dark blue color. They still have the slogan "Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve" along with a red rose.

'Frog Taxi' Helps Red-Legged Frogs Survive Mating

(Portland, OR) -- A 'Frog Taxi' is being used to help red-legged frogs from Forest Park make it to their breeding grounds in a Northwest Portland wetland. Red-legged frogs are a federal species of concern and they're protected in Oregon. The frogs have to navigate a four lane highway and railroad tracks to reach the wetlands. Volunteers with the Oregon Zoo scan the roadside looking for the frogs, they place them in containers and then drive them to the wetlands. After the eggs hatch, the process is reversed and the young frogs are collected and driven to the other side of the highway.

Armed Teen Arrested After Threat To Campus

(Salem, OR) -- Salem Police arrested an armed teenager after a threat at South Salem High School on Thursday. A person reported to 911 seeing a video on social media of a student claiming to be at the school with a gun. Officers located the student, who ran. Officers stopped the teen and found a knife. They searched his backpack and car, and located a loaded gun. The teen was arrested and booked into the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center.

UO Creates Nonprofit To Turn Research Into Business

(Eugene, OR) -- The University of Oregon has created a nonprofit called "Launch Oregon" to help researchers commercialize their ideas. It will provide funding, leadership and infrastructure for start-ups created by faculty, students and staff. Launch Oregon is a partnership between the school and the U of O Foundation.

Two Women Stranded In The Snow

(Medford, OR) -- Two Eugene women are safe after spending a night stuck in the snow. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office says the women got stranded Monday night. I-5 was closed, so they tried taking a different route and their GPS led them onto an unmaintained road. Search and rescue crews looked for them all night. They were eventually located Tuesday afternoon. The deputies say the woman made the right decision by staying with the vehicle until they were rescued.

Cold Case Murder Closed After Suspect Commits Suicide

(Durham, OR) -- The Washington County Sheriff's Office has closed the cold case investigation into a woman's murder in 1983. Police say 30-year-old Randy McEvers reported his wife's death as a suicide at their home in Durham. Investigators say evidence showed 28-year-old Nancy McEvers didn't kill herself. Randy McEvers gave police two different stories, but they didn't have enough evidence to charge him. The case was reopened last August, and investigators found new evidence. The District Attorney was reviewing the case when on February 8th, Randy McEvers killed himself. Investigators say the investigation into Nancy's murder is now closed.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions In Oregon Increased In 2021

(Portland, OR) -- Greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon haven't changed much over the last ten years. The Oregon DEQ released its 2021 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data that shows a decline in 2020, during the pandemic when travel was restricted. Last year, air pollution returned to 61 million metric tons. Pollution levels are seven-percent higher than they were in 1990. 35-percent of the pollution was from transportation, 29-percent from electricity generation, and 11-percent from natural gas combustion.

Suspect Charged In Fatal Fentanyl Overdose

(Portland, OR) -- A McMinnville man faces federal charges for selling fentanyl he claimed was cocaine that caused seven people to overdose, one of them fatally. Court documents show 28-year-old John Donnahoo sold what he said was cocaine to a person in McMinnville for 100 dollars. They used fentanyl "test kits," but they didn't indicate a presence of fentanyl. All seven people who used the drug overdosed. Police officers used Narcan on four people at the scene, before they were rushed to hospitals in critical condition. One of the victims died. Donnahoo took three people to the hospital himself. They were treated and discharged. Donnahoo is charged with distribution of fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury and death. He remains in custody.

Over 600 Vehicles Abandoned During Storm

(Portland, OR) -- More than 600 drivers abandoned their cars in Portland during last week's snow storm. The Portland Bureau of Transportation reports 349 vehicles were towed. 230 drivers picked up their vehicles before a tow truck could arrive. Around 30 drivers arrived when the vehicle was being towed and paid a drop fee, which is less than the tow charge. If your car was towed, the website AutoReturn can help you locate it.

Potentially Invasive Frog Found At Plant Store

BEAVERTON, OR -- A potentially invasive frog was found on a plant sold in an Oregon store on Monday. According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Cuban tree frogs are not native to Oregon and could threaten native frogs and other amphibians if released into the wild. In places where the Cuban treefrog has become established - like Florida - the species quickly reproduces and out-competes native frogs for food or space.

The Cuban tree frog discovered Monday was found on a tropical plant sold in Beaverton. In 2021, several were discovered in Oregon nursery plants and quickly reported to ODFW.

The agency asks people to not release any found animals into the wild and check with ODFW for specific identification of the species. If you find insects or snails, please report them to the Oregon Invasive Species hotline by calling 1-866-INVADER or click HERE.  

 

Gov Expands Plan To Reduce Homelessness

SALEM, OR -- Governor Tina Kotek has increased her funding request  to reduce homelessness around Oregon and she’s asking the legislature to take immediate action.

Governor Kotek says Multi-Agency Coordinating (MAC) Groups are forming around the state, "It’s a combination of homeless service providers, and public housing authorities, people who operate the shelters right now, landlord groups, behavioral health providers; coming together at a table, with the assistance of the state, to have a community plan."

After testifying in the Oregon House Housing Committee Tuesday, she told reporters the primary focus is on-the-ground operations, "This isn’t elected leaders sitting around having conversations - although, they are obviously an important part of all of this. It’s the people who will sit and have very detailed conversations of ‘how many beds do you have this week? Do we need more beds? What are we doing here?’ So, we’re trying to bring that granularity to the local situation that you would find in an emergency response set up."

If lawmakers approve her package of bills, that emergency response would be applied to five areas she says are hardest hit by the homeless crisis: the Portland metro region, Central Oregon, Lane County, Jackson County and the Salem area. She says the legislature supports her request to increase the price tag from $130 million to $155 million to reach more regions. "$155 million includes $25 million to reach all parts of the state. The difference is, those resources will go to the balance of the state continuum that wasn’t covered in the emergency order."

Kotek recently met with Douglas County officials who she says are already taking action, "They have a homelessness Commission in Roseburg. They’re doing tremendous work in their coordinating. It is possible in our local communities - in our more rural communities - for everybody to be working together. And I will continue to work with our county leaders and city leaders to say ‘this is an emergency. You can’t hide from this challenge. You need to step up; we need to take care of our neighbors’." She says the goal is to keep people from becoming homeless, help get people from the streets into shelters and allow those in shelters to find permanent housing, "It is not just about the resources; it’s about how we work together and how we meet specific goals."

 

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