Regional News Archives for 2023-04

Grant Issued To Build Old Town Wifi Network

(Portland, OR) -- The City of Portland has approved a grant of 400-thousand dollars to build a wifi network in Old Town. The group AfroVillage PDX is organizing the project with Street Roots, Free Geek, and Personal Telco. The project will provide internet access to priority populations, social service providers, overnight shelters, permanent housing providers and residents living in Old Town. Many Old Town businesses will also have access to the network. The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Tillamook Receives Emergency Supply Containers

(Tillamook, OR) -- The City of Tillamook has received two large cargo containers that will be used to store emergency supplies for a major earthquake and tsunami. The containers will be located at the Tillamook Airport and will hold enough food, water, tents and medical supplies to support 100 people for two weeks. The containers were purchased by the state Office of Resilience and Emergency Management.

$3.5 Billion Multnomah County Budget Released

(Portland, OR) -- Multnomah County Commission Chair Jessica Vega Pederson has released a three-and-a-half billion-dollar budget proposal. It focuses on homelessness, behavioral health care, animal services and community violence. Roughly 280-million dollars goes towards homelessness and behavioral health programs. Multnomah County Animal Services gets a 31-percent increase to deal with structural and management challenges. The District Attorney's Office will be able to hire two full-time investigators and two full-time prosecutors to reduce a backlog in gun violence cases. Three public hearings will be held on the budget.

Portland Tests Green Delivery Zone

(Portland, OR) -- The City of Portland has launched a 16-block area downtown to test a requirement for zero emission deliveries. The area includes City Hall, the federal building and the Justice Center. It runs from 5th Avenue to Naito Parkway and from Jefferson to Taylor. Sensors would record which vehicles use loading zones. Delivery services could off-load items outside of the zone and use zero emission vehicles to make their stops. Violators would get a citation. The pilot is funded by a two-million dollar federal grant.

Portland Council Approves Body Cameras

(Portland, OR) -- Portland City Council has approved a new policy for police body-worn cameras. The City and the Portland Police Association reached agreement on the policy after months of negotiations. The sticking point was over when officers can view their video after a use-of-force incident. In fatal incidents, officers must give an interview before seeing the video, but they can use the video to write their report. Body camera maker AXON is expected to train officers in August for a pilot program. All officers should be equipped by the end of the year.

Bill To Reduce Single-Use Food Containers Heads To Kotek's Desk

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon legislature is sending Governor Kotek two bills that would limit single-use food containers. One bill bans styrofoam food containers and the other allows customers to bring their own containers for leftover food at restaurants. The Oregon Health Authority would be required to develop guidelines for personal containers and customers could still request non-styrofoam containers from restaurants.

Photo Radar Legislation Heads To Kotek's Desk

(Salem, OR) -- Photo radar used to catch speeding drivers would expand statewide under a bill passed by the Oregon legislature. State Senator Aaron Woods says it doesn't mandate the use of photo radar, but allows local governments to choose it as a tool, if they pay for operating the system. Currently, only ten cities are allowed to use mobile photo radar and only Portland can have fixed radar outside of intersections. The bill passed both chambers with bipartisan support and now heads for Governor Tina Kotek's desk.

Oregon Brewers Festival Returns

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Brewers Festival is returning as part of the Rose Festival. After the Brewer's Fest announced it was ending its 35-year run, the Rose Festival contacted organizer Art Larrance to discuss a new partnership. Larrance says he's already started selecting beers that'll be featured at the event. The Brewer's Festival will be held June 2nd through the 4th at CityFair in Waterfront Park. Access to the Brewer's Fest will be included with CityFair admission. Attendees will be able to buy the 2023 Rose Festival edition Oregon Brewers Festival mug and purchase a 12-ounce pour from the selection of beers.

Housing Production Action Plan

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Housing Production Advisory Council has released its priorities for developing an action plan. Governor Tina Kotek formed the council when she declared a homelessness state of emergency and a goal to build 36-thousand affordable housing units a year. The council will consider availability of land, permit applications, codes, workforce shortages and financing. Their recommendations must address barriers to housing, changes to laws and rules that accelerate construction, and plan for production that's equitable and affirms fair housing. Their deadline is December 31st.

Portland Planning To Create Zero-Emission Delivery Zone Downtown

(Portland, OR) -- City officials are planning to create a zero-emission delivery zone in downtown Portland. Under a pilot program, the area from the Portland Building, the Federal Building and the County Courthouse would be off-limits to traditional gas-powered delivery vehicles. Passenger vehicles wouldn't be affected. While exact details are still being worked out, those who break the rules would be subject to a parking citation. Officials hope to roll out the program in early 2024.

Clackamas County Objects To I-205 Toll Projects

(Oregon City, OR) -- Clackamas County is telling the federal highway administration to not allow ODOT to place tolls on I-205. The tolls would pay for improvements to the Abernethy and Tualatin River bridges and reduce traffic on I-205. Clackamas County says ODOT doesn't have an adequate plan for drivers who would use side streets to get around the tolls. They say the project wouldn't meet climate reduction goals, because drivers will use the secondary routes, because there are limited alternatives, like mass transit. The comment period has closed. Tolling could begin next year.

Jury Awards Corrections Employees $2.4 Million

(Salem, OR) -- A Marion County jury has awarded two Oregon Department of Corrections employees two-point-four million dollars for retaliation against whistleblowing. Merilee Nowak and Gina Raney-Eatherly claimed DOC employees were possibly breaking the law with their use of grant money. Both women claimed they were demoted and retaliated against after they reported the allegations. Their case went to trial and a Marion County jury ruled in their favor. The Oregon Department of Administrative services released a statement saying the state is committed to being accountable and responsive to the needs of employees and the public.

Vancouver Launches Three Year Outreach Program

(Vancouver, WA) -- The City of Vancouver is launching a first-of-its kind program to connect with people in central Vancouver. It's part of the Fourth Plain for All community investment strategy. The city has posted 65 blue signs that include a QR code, so residents can offer ideas they'd like to see developed to help the community. Vancouver is spending 25-million dollars over the next three years from American Rescue Plan Act funds. Users can provide feedback on transportation, housing, jobs and health.

PacifiCorp Trial Underway Over Beachie Creek Fire Damage

(Portland, OR) -- A trial against PacifiCorp is underway over damage from the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire. The blazed burned 200-thousand acres over Labor Day weekend in 2020. Five people were killed and hundreds of homes were destroyed. The National Weather Service forecast strong winds through the Willamette National Forest. The lawsuit contends PacifiCorp should have cut power to the Santiam Canyon. PacifiCorp filed motions to have the lawsuit dismissed, but they were denied by the court.

Graffiti Investigation Uncovers Ghost Gun Operation

(Portland, OR) -- An investigation into two widespread graffiti vandals also uncovered a ghost gun manufacturing operation. In 2021, police started tracking two prolific graffiti vandals. Twenty-six-year-old Shelaleh Rostami was located in Beaverton and his alleged partner, 43-year-old Jacob Ramos was arrested in Portland. Also at Ramos' house, police found a ghost gun manufacturing operation. Police seized evidence of equipment to make polymer and metal guns without serial numbers. Ramos faces multiple charges for the gun making operation. Rostami was charged for graffiti vandalism.

Daughter Sentence To Prison For Elder Abuse

(Portland, OR) -- A Multnomah County judge has sentenced a daughter to prison for stealing from her elderly mother. In 2020, 52-year-old Nicole Stevens stole over 400-thousand dollars from her mother who was suffering from dementia and no longer able to handle her affairs. By February of 2021, Stevens had spent 325-thousand dollars of the money with no evidence she was spending it on her mother. In 2020, Stevens checked her mother into a care facility claiming she had enough money to pay for it. Two months later, Stevens told the facility manager that her mother was out of money. Stevens was found guilty by a jury. Stevens was sentenced to other two years in prison.

Wyden Asks GOP Donor For List Of Gifts To Justice Thomas

(Washington, DC) -- Democrats are asking a Republican donor to provide an accounting of gifts he's given to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden sent a letter to billionaire Harlan Crow in request of a complete list of gifts given to Thomas and evidence the two complied with federal tax law. Thomas has recently come under scrutiny after a ProPublica report revealed he received luxury trips from Crow for years without disclosing them. ProPublica also reported a company owned by Crow purchased several properties from Thomas and his family. Those purchases were also undisclosed.

Multnomah County Ballots Delay Due To Error

(Portland, OR) -- Multnomah County ballots will be delayed, because of a proofing error. The mistake caused the District 3 contest for the Multnomah Board of Commissioners to appear on every ballot. The error was discovered today. Multnomah County elections says new ballots are being printed and will be mailed to voters on or before the required May 2nd date. Voters will have the required two weeks to make decisions and return their ballots in time for the May 16th election deadline.

Right To Rest Bill

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Legislature is considering a new bill called the Right to Rest Act. It would decriminalize camping in public places. Supporters say it's necessary to give people who can't afford housing a right to camp. Opponents say it will encourage more homeless camps where people can't get the support they need for behavioral health issues and addiction treatment. A public hearing on the bill will be held May 4th.

Woman Wounded In Road Rage Shooting

(Cedar Mill, OR) -- Washington County Sheriff's deputies are searching for a suspect in a road rage shooting Friday evening that injured a woman. It happened in Cedar Mill. Investigators say 43-year-old Glen Hornsby Junior, of Hillsboro, tried to rob the victim and shot her once in the chest. The victim got away, but Hornsby allegedly pursued her and shot at her vehicle. His vehicle was later found near a motorhome that he's associated with, but Hornsby wasn't there. Deputies say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Governor Calls For Expedited Fishing Disaster Declaration

(Salem, OR) -- Governor Kotek is asking the U.S. Department of Commerce to quickly approve a federal fishery resource disaster. The commercial salmon fishing season off the Oregon Coast has been canceled through August, because of significantly lower salmon returns. Drought has reduced salmon runs in the Sacramento and Klamath rivers. Those fish live off the Oregon Coast. It's estimated fishing boats will lose 82 percent of their revenue. A federal fishery disaster declaration would provide financial assistance to impacted communities.

Oregon To Consider Listing Southern Resident Killer Whales

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has accepted a petition to list the Southern Resident killer whales as Endangered under the Oregon Endangered Species Act. There are 73 whales in three pods that swim off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. Their numbers have been declining. Some of the reasons include declining chinook salmon, high levels of pollution, disturbance from vessels and inbreeding. The whales are already listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. The petition starts a biological assessment.

Nyssa Officer Memorial

(Nyssa, OR) -- A public memorial was held for Nyssa Police Corporal Joseph Johnson on Saturday. Chief Don Ballou says Johnson's murder has sent a shock wave through the community. The service was held at Nyssa High School. Governor Kotek awarded Johnson with the Law Enforcement Medal of Ultimate Sacrifice. The suspect in the shooting, Rene Castro, remains in custody, charged with aggravated murder and murder in the first degree.

Dems Propose Equal Rights Resolution

(Salem, OR) -- Democratic leaders in the Oregon Senate have introduced a resolution to put a measure before voters that would put equal rights protections into the state constitution. It would protect Oregonians' rights to make their own decisions about their bodies and families, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity including the right to access contraception and abortion. It would also repeal Oregon's ban on same-gender marriage. If the resolution is approved, the measure would be on the 2024 General Election ballot.

Education Department Asked To Step Up Anti-Drug Programs

(Washington, D.C.) -- Drug-related deaths among teens are increasing faster in Oregon than anywhere else in the nation, and most of Oregon's federal lawmakers are asking the U-S Department of Education to do more to curb teen opioid use. The bipartisan group sent a letter praising the Department of Education for recent efforts to combat the fentanyl crisis, but they believe more can be done. They want to know what other resources the department needs to address the issue. Republican Congressman Cliff Bentz is the only member of the delegation who didn't sign the letter.

OHS To Receive 66 Puppies From Flooded Regions In California

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Humane Society is getting 66 puppies from shelters in California that were overwhelmed when flooding hit the area. The puppies come from Tulare County Animal Services in Visalia, California. The puppies range in age from ten weeks to four months. The puppies will receive medical care and be spayed or neutered before adoption. The Oregon Humane Society Second Chance program works with over 60 shelters and rescue partners in Oregon and throughout the region to find homes for the puppies.

Bird Flu Killing Endangered California Condors

(Corvallis, OR) -- Endangered California condors are dying from bird flu. Researchers at Oregon State University have found at least seven deceased condors from the northern Arizona population with avian influenza. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports 20 condors have died with 10 confirmed to have bird flu. There are only about 500 California condors in the world and the threat from bird flu is concerning. 40-million egg-laying hens in the U.S. have died since the bird flu outbreak began in 2022.

OHA Issues Final COVID-19 Update

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Health Authority has issued its final COVID-19 update. State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger says the public health emergency expired, the mask requirements are gone, and the federal public health emergency is over. He says COVID isn't gone. One-hundred-72 people are hospitalized right now with COVID, but that compares to the peak of one-thousand-178 hospitalizations in September 2021. Sidelinger recommends people over 65 with compromised immunity get the second booster shot just authorized by the FDA.

Governor Orders Mifepristone Purchase

(Salem, OR) -- Governor Kotek has taken action to make sure the state has a supply of the abortion drug mifepristone. A ruling by a Texas judge could stop sales of the drug. The U.S. Supreme Court is considering the ruling and placed a temporary injunction on it through tomorrow. Kotek directed Oregon Health and Science University to buy 22-thousand-500 doses, which is enough to meet the state's demand for three years. She also told the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Justice to explore all available ways to safeguard access to reproductive health care in Oregon.

DEQ Responds To 1,200 Gallon Railroad Diesel Spill

(Cottage Grove, OR) -- A piece of railroad equipment punctured a tank causing a 12-hundred gallon diesel spill in Cottage Grove on Tuesday. The train didn't derail and no waterways are affected. The spill happened near South 6th Avenue and Highway 99 in Cottage Grove, just southwest of Bohemia Park. Crews will excavate and remove diesel-contaminated soil. The train is operated by Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad which is paying for the clean up. Oregon DEQ is overseeing the operation.

Drought Emergencies Expand

(Salem, OR) -- Governor Kotek has declared drought emergencies in Wasco and Harney counties. The declarations allow drought-related emergency tools for water users, including assistance. It also allows the Water Resource Department to expedite reviews and reduce fee schedules. Nearly half of Wasco County is facing severe drought. Nearly all of Harney County is experiencing drought with parts of the county in extreme drought. The drought is expected to have a significant economic impact on farms and ranches, vineyards, recreation, and tourism.

Kotek Announces Progress In First 100 Days On Priorities

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon Governor Tina Kotek says during her first 100 days in office progress has been made on her top three priorities: homelessness, mental health and addiction, and literacy. The legislature passed a bill to fund homelessness actions this year and she wants lawmakers to pass other bills to spend one-point-three billion dollars on affordable housing and homeless issues. Another proposal would boost the behavioral health system. She says progress is being made on the Early Literacy Success Initiative that has bipartisan support to develop students' reading and writing skills.

ODOT Launches EV Charger Rebate Program

(Salem, OR) -- ODOT is launching the Community Charging Rebate Program. It'll help get more EV charging stations in communities. Businesses, public entities, Tribes, and multifamily complexes can apply. The rebates range from 42-hundred-50 dollars to 55-hundred dollars, or up to 75 percent of project costs, for Level One and Level Two charging systems. The funding will be allocated in four rounds with the first round this summer. Seventy percent of the first round funding is reserved for projects in rural areas and disadvantaged communities where gaps in EV charging infrastructure are greatest.

Oregon Added Jobs In March

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon added jobs last month and the unemployment rate declined. The Oregon Employment Department reports the state added 24-hundred jobs following a revised loss of 27-hundred jobs in February. The state's unemployment rate declined from four-point-seven percent to four-point-three percent. Health care and professional and business services had the most job gains. The retail sector lost 900 jobs. There are 210-thousand retail jobs in Oregon and that number has been trending down the last two years.

Southern Oregon Homicide Suspect On The Run

JACKSONVILLE, OR -- Authorities in Southern Oregon are searching for a man believed to be involved in an overnight homicide. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives were on-scene early Thursday morning in rural Jacksonville, outside of Medford. The dispatch center received a call at 2:26 a.m. for a shooting at a residence in the 14000 block of Upper Applegate Road. JCSO deputies responded, discovered the scene was a homicide, and notified Criminal Investigations Division (CID) detectives and Medical Examiners. A primary suspect has been identified and is on-the-run. The victim identification is pending next-of-kin notification.

The suspect, 64-year-old Michael Wayne Ray of Jacksonville, is described as a white male with blue eyes and grey hair, 5’9” tall, weighing 190 lbs. (pictured). He is considered armed and dangerous. If you see the suspect, do not approach, instead call 911 immediately.  

This case is active and ongoing with detectives following additional leads. Oregon State Police and Medford Police detectives are assisting as part of a Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit (MADIU) call out. 

OHA Licenses First Three Psilocybin Facilitators

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is another step closer to launching magic mushroom centers. The Oregon Health Authority has issued licenses to the first three facilitators. They are trained to prepare clients, administer psilocybin mushrooms and help clients through the experience. Psilocybin can only be administered in licensed service centers. Two manufacturers have been licensed and OHA is in the process of licensing labs to test the products. Once service centers and labs are certified, they can start taking clients. Studies show psilocybin can help with things like PTSD and depression.

Bar Fight Ends In Shooting

(Keizer, OR) -- A brawl at Bubba's Pub and Lotto in Keizer ended with a shooting Monday night. Keizer Police says everyone fled after the shooting. A man who was wounded, and another man, left in a car that crashed on Front Street Northeast in Salem. The 25-year-old gunshot victim was hospitalized with a non-life-threatening injury. The other man was booked into the Marion County Correctional Facility and charged with riot. The investigation continues.

Legacy Health Apologizes For Closure Of Family Birth Center

(Gresham, OR) -- Legacy Health says it's committed to East County, despite closing the Family Birth Center at Mount Hood Medical Center in March. Legacy released a statement apologizing for the stress, confusion and disruption caused by the closure. They say their goal is to rebuild trust moving forward. They plan to have the Family Birth Center accepting patients again by July. Oregon Health Authority has said it's investigating the closure, because it happened without OHA issuing a waiver.

Gas Prices Increase In Oregon

(Portland, OR) -- Gas is getting more expensive. Triple-A reports over the last week, the national average price for a gallon of gas increased seven cents to three-68. Oregon's average also increased seven cents to four-06. In Bend, the price of a gallon of regular is up 8¢ to $4.05.  The rising price of crude oil is the main cause of higher gas prices. Crude oil is now in the low 80s per barrel. The price of oil increased after OPEC+ announce a cut in production. California has the most expensive gas at four-92 a gallon and Mississippi has the cheapest gas at three-17 a gallon.

Stolen Vehicle Stop Leads To Seizure Of Guns

(Salem, OR) -- Salem Police say officers pulled over a stolen minivan Monday night and recovered guns along with a suspicious device. A woman and two men in the minivan got out of the vehicle and allowed police to search it. Officers recovered a shotgun, handgun and ammunition. The Salem Bomb Squad responded to inspect a suspicious device in the back of the minivan. They took steps to make the device safe. The three people were arrested on a variety of charges including illegal gun possession, driving a stolen vehicle and parole violation.

Youth Suicides Decline In Oregon

(Portland, OR) -- New data show youth suicides in Oregon declined over the last three years, but adult suicides increased. The Centers for Disease Control released data that shows youth suicides declined 28 percent from 2018 through 2021 when 95 deaths were reported. Suicide remains the second leading cause of death among people ages 5 to 24. Suicides among all ages in Oregon increased slightly with 889 total deaths. Oregon has the 17th highest rate of suicide in the U.S. The 988 Lifeline is a resource for anyone in crisis.

Clark County 911 Adds Nurse Navigation Program

(Vancouver, WA) -- Clark County 911 is adding a Nurse Navigation Program starting May 16th. 14-thousand of the county's 58-thousand medical related calls each year are not emergency calls. They'll be directed to Nurse Navigators who are Washington state licensed nurses with special training in telephone triage. They will connect callers to clinics and can arrange transportation. They can also connect callers to telehealth physicians. The goal is to reduce the load on emergency responders.

Drought Emergency Declared In Wasco & Harney Counties

THE DALLES, OR -- Governor Tina Kotek declared a drought in Wasco County through Executive Order 23-10, and a drought in Harney County through Executive Order 23-11, Wednesday, and is directing state agencies to coordinate and prioritize assistance to both regions. Drought declarations provide water users access emergency tools, including financial assistance, and allow the Water Resources Department to expedite review processes and reduce fee schedules.
With 23% of the county in moderate drought (D1) and 49% in severe drought conditions (D2), the U.S. Drought Monitor classifies Wasco County as being in abnormally dry to severe drought. Kotek's office says conditions have worsened since the beginning of water year 2023, with an approximately 40% increase in area coverage of severe drought conditions (D2). Water year precipitation for Wasco County has measured well below average, with nearly the entire county receiving between 25 – 75% of average precipitation, according to the National Weather Service. Overall, streamflows have been below average due to low precipitation and Wasco County is averaging 64% of the long-term average streamflow over the water year to date. While snowpack is well above average in the Hood-Sandy-Deschutes Basin, the dry soils will first be replenished by snowmelt when it occurs, limiting the amount of runoff available to translate into streamflow. Soil moisture profiles continue to measure near historical dryness for much of Wasco County.
In Harney County, the Governor's office says forecasted water supply conditions and precipitation levels are not expected to improve and nearly all of Harney County is experiencing drought conditions with a portion of the county experiencing extreme drought conditions (D3). Additionally, Harney County is averaging just 55% of the long-term average streamflow over the water year to date, while the Malheur Lake Basin as a whole is measuring 71% of average. While snowpack is well above average in the Harney Basin, the streamflow forecast for the Silvies River is projected to be well below average (76%). Drought is likely to have a significant economic impact on the farm, ranch, vineyard, recreation, tourism and natural resources sectors, as well as an impact on drinking water, fish and wildlife, and important minimum flows for public instream uses and other natural resources dependent on adequate precipitation, stored water, and streamflow in these areas. Extreme conditions are expected to affect local growers and livestock, increase the potential for fire, shorten the growing season, and decrease water supplies.
As state and local officials coordinate with federal partners, conditions in each region will be closely monitored by the state’s natural resource and public safety agencies, says Kotek's office, including the Oregon Water Resources Department and the Oregon Department of Emergency  Management, the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal, and the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Fire Protection Division.

Memorial Svc. Planning Underway For Fallen Nyssa PD Officer

ONTARIO, OR -- We’re learning more about what led up to the deadly officer involved shooting in eastern Oregon last weekend. Corporal Joseph Johnson died Saturday evening in Nyssa, a small town on the Oregon-Idaho border. 

At a Tuesday press conference in Ontario, Oregon State Police Captain Kyle Kennedy  said Corporal Johnson was responding to a report of a violent man, "The male was reportedly attempting to damage vehicles with a hammer." There was a short car chase - about two minutes long, said Kennedy, "And at 8:20, the first initial reports of shots being fired came over the radio. Corporal Johnson was fatally wounded in that interaction."

It took 36 hours to track down the suspect, who was taken into custody after a brief standoff in Ontario, Monday. But Kennedy says the investigation continues, "There’s a 36-hour period that they’re trying to close the investigation off, as to the whereabouts of the suspect during that time. So, we would ask, if there are any eyewitness sightings, any information from the public, that they would contact the Oregon State Police."

During the press conference, officials chose not to use the name of the suspect, who had been previously identified by OSP. 

Malheur County District Attorney David Goldthorpe says the suspected shooter was arraigned Tuesday on Aggravated Murder, Murder I and other charges. "We have our Grand Jury set for this week, where the grand jury will determine whether they support those charges or want to modify or add to those charges; that will be their prerogative."

Nyssa Police Chief Don Ballou says Johnson's death has shaken his small town, "Me and my staff, my team and our community is going to take a long time to recover. I don’t think it’s ever going to be fully recovered." He asked for the community to continue to support Johnson's family and his department. 

Bend Police Officer David Peterson, with the Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, says a memorial service is being planned, "The OFBF is working in partnership with Nyssa Police Department, to ensure the needs and wishes of Corporal Johnson’s family are met in honoring him. The Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation is bearing all of the expenses related to the memorial service."

Photo courtesy of Nyssa Police Department 

Researchers Find Compound In Grapes That Traps Smoke

(Corvallis, OR) -- Oregon State University researchers have discovered a new class of compounds that contribute to the ashy or smoky flavors in wine made with grapes exposed to wildfire smoke. The compound can now be used to identify which grapes will be affected by smoke and ways to possibly reduce or eliminate the smoky taste. Wine makers will know if smoke taint is a problem and what steps they can take to reduce the effects of the smoke. Wildfire smoke has become a growing problem for wine makers as warmer temperatures help contribute to an increase in wildfires.

Legislators Remember Bill Bradbury

(Salem, OR) -- Former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury was honored yesterday on the floor of the Oregon Senate. Bradbury suffered from MS and died on Friday at age 73 while on a world cruise with his wife. State Senator Jeff Golden was Bradbury's chief of staff in the 90s and said Bradbury made us better by showing us every day what living can be. Senator David Brock Smith said Bradbury was a champion for Oregonians and for conservation policy to protect salmon and rivers.

Pearl District REI Closing Due To Crime

(Portland, OR) -- Portland's flagship REI store is closing its doors due to crime. In a statement, REI says it is shutting down its Pearl District location sometime early next year. The company says the store suffered its highest-ever number of break-ins and thefts last year. The location has been in operation for nearly two decades.

Convicted Child Rapist Sentenced To 25 Years

(Hillsboro, OR) -- A convicted child rapist has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. Damien Karp previously served a 15-year term for rape and abuse of a 10-year-old girl. He was hired by VillaSport Athletic Club where he was caught by a father using an underwater video camera to record inappropriate touching of young children. A search warrant recovered multiple videos. Prosecutors argued for the maximum sentence and the judge agreed. Karp was also a member at the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District where he may have gone to the main swimming pool on Walker Road during April 2022. Any other victims should contact Beaverton Police.

Seal Pup Warning

(Seaside, OR) -- Beachgoers should be on the lookout for seal pups. The Seaside Aquarium says this is the time of year when seals give birth, and the pups will be left alone on the beach while the mother is hunting for food. If you see a seal pup, give it plenty of room. Any interference could cause the mother to not return. You can also call the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and they'll post signs to help keep people away from the area.

Governor Accepts Revised Multnomah County Homeless Plan

(Salem, OR) -- Governor Kotek says the State has accepted Multnomah County's updated plan for use of emergency homelessness funding. Kotek says the previous plan lacked details. The new plan shows how money will fund 140 new shelter beds and rehouse 275 households. The County and City of Portland will purchase sleeping pods that will be located at the Gideon Temporary Alternative Shelter Site in Southeast Portland to add the 140 shelter beds. The County will receive 18-million-dollars to do the work.

Reserve Police Officer Killed In Rural Eastern Oregon, Suspect Arrested

UPDATE: The man suspected of shooting an eastern Oregon police officer was arrested in Ontario, Monday morning. Oregon State Police SWAT, along with members of the FBI, Ontario Police Department, Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, and other agencies, surrounded a residence in Ontario at approximately 6:40 A.M. and began calling occupants from the home.  At approximately 7:40 A.M., Rene Castro exited and was taken into custody by OSP SWAT personnel.  Neither Castro nor SWAT personnel were injured during his arrest.

While the arrest has been made, investigators are still processing evidence.

 

NYSSA, OR -- A reserve police officer in rural eastern Oregon was shot and killed Saturday night, and authorities say the suspect is still on the run. According to the Malheur County District Attorney, 43-year-old Joseph Johnson responded to a call about a violent man threatening others near the town of Nyssa. The suspect was later identified as 36-year-old Rene Castro of Nyssa (pictured). 

The D.A. says Officer Johnson pulled over near a vehicle he believed was the suspect’s and was shot before backup arrived.

State Police, the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office and agencies stretching from Idaho to La Grande responded to aid in the investigation, but Castro got away. If anyone has any information about his possible location, please call Malheur County Dispatch at 541-473-5125.

Officer Johnson was also an Oregon Department of Corrections employee, assigned to Snake River Correctional Institution. Governor Tina Kotek issued the following statement on Johnson's death:
"This is an absolute tragedy. I extend my sincere condolences to Officer Johnson’s family, friends, and the public safety community who knew him well," Governor Tina Kotek said. “Officer Johnson’s service and dedication to his community and our state will not be forgotten.”
Governor Kotek ordered flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff until sunset April 17, in honor and remembrance of Officer Johnson’s sacrifice.
Officer Johnson is survived by his wife and two children. The Fallen Badge Foundation is accepting donations on behalf of the family. More information about the incident will be found here.
 
Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale) and Representative Mark Owens (RCrane) released the following statement regarding the death of Nyssa Police Department Reserve Officer Joseph Johnson:
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Officer Joseph Johnson who was killed in the line of duty protecting the citizens of Nyssa. On the night of April 15, 2023, Officer Johnson was dispatched to investigate violent activity occurring in the Nyssa community. A pursuit ensued followed by an exchange of gunfire. Officer Johnson was struck and died at the scene.
Officer Johnson epitomized the spirit and service valued in eastern Oregon. Not only had Officer Johnson served as Reserve Officer for the City of Nyssa since 2018, but he dedicated his professional career to his community and to public safety by serving first as a Corrections Officer and then as a Behavioral Health Specialist with Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario.
Amazingly, Officer Johnson’s service to his community did not end there as he was also a mental health counselor, an Adjunct Instructor at Treasure Valley Community College, and a volunteer firefighter. When we talk of taking action to better your community, we should look no further than to the legacy of Officer Joseph Johnson.
More importantly, we express our deepest sympathies to Officer Johnson’s family, including his wife and two children, his friends, co-workers, and the Malheur County community as they mourn his loss.
The Malheur County community is lessened by the loss of a dedicated and hard-working public servant, Officer Johnson died a hero and his selfless sacrifice while protecting the community he served and loved should, and will, always be remembered.
Officer Johnson was the very best of eastern Oregon. Our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
 

DNA Helps Identify Remains Found In 1981

(Salem, OR) -- DNA genealogy tracing has helped identify the remains of an elderly woman who was reported missing near Sandy in 1976. Illya Wilkins suffered from memory problems and went missing from a care home. There were searches, but she was never found. In 1981, a partial human skull was found on a property outside of Sandy. It was believed to be Wilkins, but DNA genealogy tracing didn't exist at the time. Last July, the DNA tracing company Othram was hired to track her DNA and it showed a family match. Her grandchild still lives in Oregon, and the person submitted a DNA sample that confirmed the remains are Wilkins.

Duplex Fire Difficult To Fight

(Portland, OR) -- An investigation is ongoing into a fire in an abandoned northeast Portland duplex. Authorities say the structure at Northeast 6th and Halsey was boarded up, but people have been living inside. Smoke was coming from the building when firefighters arrived and people were leaving the building. There was excessive clutter and human waste throughout the duplex. There were holes in floors firefighters had to avoid. Everyone got out safely and the fire was put out.

Oregon Zoo's Youngest Orangutan Celebrates 1st Birthday

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Zoo's youngest member of the orangutan family celebrated her first birthday this week. Jolene was born April 13, 2022. She's learning to walk and climb on her own, but she doesn't venture far from her mom, Kitra. Orangutans stay with their mothers for 8 to 10 years. The bond between an orangutan mom and her baby is one of the closest of any species.

Governor Signs Oregon CHIPs Bill

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon will spend $210 million to help attract federal money from the CHIPs & Science Act for construction of semiconductor manufacturing facilities. Governor Tina Kotek signed a bipartisan bill Thursday that approves the funding.

Under SB-4, $190 million will be spent to help businesses apply for the federal money, $10 million will go to universities and community colleges to attract federal grants and $10 million will be available to help communities prepare land for the facilities. The bill also gives the Governor special authority to shift an urban growth boundary to create a location for the plant.

Governor Kotek calls it a once in a generation opportunity, "To position Oregon for continued growth in the semiconductor industry. Oregon has long been the center of the semiconductor industry in the United States. We are the Silicon Forest." Hillsboro - home of Intel and others - is often called the Silicon Forest. Kotek added, "As you know, our state holds 15% of the semiconductor workforce, nationally. Senate Bill 4 will create a whole spectrum of good paying jobs and will also support the incredible programs Oregon’s universities and community colleges are implementing, to ensure the next generation of workers are equipped to propel the semiconductor industry in Oregon."

Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) thanked his fellow lawmakers for the bipartisan effort to pass the Oregon Chips Act, "We need to embrace the future and the future is high tech and it is semiconductor. The opportunity for high paying jobs and increased investment, to the tune of billions of dollars, can occur because of this opportunity."

 

OLCC Considers Price Increase

(Portland, OR) -- Liquor could get more expensive in Oregon. The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission is considering an increase in the per-bottle surcharge. It's currently 50 cents a bottle and would increase to a dollar. The additional revenue would go to the state's General Fund. OLCC is taking comment on the proposal through June 5th. Verbal testimony will be taken at OLCC meetings on April 20th and May 18th.

Gresham Police Criticized For Tasing Homeless

(Gresham, OR) -- Gresham Police are being criticized for using a taser, repeatedly, on a homeless man. It happened at Cheap Charlie's Beer and Wine Superstore last month. It was captured on video surveillance and several business owners say the police overreacted. They told officers that 59-year-old Ronnie Amato is schizophrenic and wasn't causing a problem. Amato was lying on the floor and refused officer's commands to turn onto his face, so they could take him into custody. Amato was tased several times. A Gresham Homeless Services worker said he was assaulted by Amato, but the business owners say that didn't happen.

Legacy Health To Reopen Birth Center

(Gresham, OR) -- Legacy Health has announced it will reopen the Family Birth Center at the Mt. Hood Medical Center. Legacy closed the birth center last month citing a low number of births and an unusual high-cost care model. The Oregon Health Authority denied Legacy's application for a waiver to close the birth center. Legacy plans to reopen the birth center within the next three months.

Hundreds Of Stolen Apartment Keys Recovered

(Gresham, OR) -- Gresham Police arrested an armed man who was allegedly trying to break into vehicles and recovered hundreds of stolen apartment keys. Police located the man, and a woman who was working with him, near the Mountain Knolls Apartments and they ran. Officers caught them and they were taken into custody. During a search, police recovered a bag full of 265 apartment keys that were taken from the Columbia Trails Apartments on Sunday, along with several electronic devices.

Workgroup Formed To Develop Abandoned Vessel Removal Program

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon State Land Board wants to find a permanent solution to remove abandoned boats. Currently, funding comes from waterway easements and other fees, but it isn't enough to cover the high costs of removing vessels. The Common School Fund is tapped to help cover the remaining costs, and that takes from away from schools. Governor Kotek has proposed nearly 19-million dollars in her budget to cover removal of current hazardous vessels. Creation of an Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Program would be responsible for removing future abandoned vessels.

OHSU To Offer New Knee Repair Procedure

(Portland, OR) -- The FDA has granted marketing approval for an implantable shock absorber to help patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Oregon Health & Science University conducted research to validate the new treatment. Total knee replacement was recommended for people older than 60. But, younger people had to rely on physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medicine that isn't very effective in reducing the pain. OHSU is among five centers nationwide that tested the new approach, called MISHA, and will be able to offer the procedure in the coming months.

Police Sweep Building Known For Drug Use

(Portland, OR) -- A vacant building at Southwest 4th and Washington in downtown Portland is becoming known for fentanyl and other drug use. On a recent Friday, police responded to several overdose calls including one fatality. The building's owner wants to board it up, but needed to make sure everyone was out. Portland Police responded with several officers to search the building. Many of the officers came in from vacation to help with the operation. Mayor Ted Wheeler thanked them for their support.

Alaska Airline Eliminates Boarding Pass Kiosks At PDX

(Portland, OR) -- Alaska Airlines is eliminating kiosks to print boarding passes at Portland International Airport. The airline says the goal is to get passengers through the lobby faster. Passengers should use the Alaska app on their phone or print a boarding pass at home. They can also get boarding passes from customer service agents. New bag tag stations have iPad tablets where passengers can pay for and print tags for checked bags. Alaska says that in addition to saving time it also reduces paper used for the passes.

Trooper Shoots Suspect Threatening Semi Driver

(Salem, OR) -- A man who was allegedly holding the driver of a semi at gunpoint on I-5 in South Salem on Monday was shot and killed by an Oregon State Police trooper. The trooper saw the semi parked near the Highway 22 interchange and stopped to help. He saw a man holding a gun on the semi's driver, the suspect fired and the trooper returned fire. The suspect ran into nearby brush and died. The trooper received minor injuries during the incident. The suspect is identified as 31-year-old Felipe Amezcua Manzo.

PSU Public Safety Officers To Carry Guns

 

(Portland, OR) -- Portland State University is reversing policy on allowing campus safety officers to carry guns. Chief Willie Halliburton says it's being done, because there's an increasing number of guns on campus. Nine officers will be armed and seven officers will be unarmed. PSU officers stopped carrying guns in 2021 after the fatal shooting of Jason Washington by a campus officer. PSU President Stephen Percy says the increase in guns on campus and reduced response from Portland Police led to the decision.

Multnomah County DA Releases Videos

(Portland, OR) -- Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has started producing a series of videos that explain how the DA's office works. Critics have called Schmidt soft on crime because of rising crime rates and the way he dealt with demonstrators causing damage downtown in 2020. The first video explains how they handle property crimes. They need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty. Of the cases investigated by police, they prosecute 76 percent of vehicle theft cases, 58 percent of thefts, 81 percent of burglaries, and 70 percent of vandalisms. A new video will be released each month.

Missing Albany Teen Found In Portland

(Portland, OR) -- A 13-year-old Albany boy who was reported missing on April 5th was found in Portland with a 24-year-old woman. Albany Police received a report on Monday that Tryston Wade and Alyssa Thomas were at Lloyd Center Mall. Police found them in the food court and took Thomas into custody and Wade into protective custody. He was returned to his mother in Albany. Thomas was booked into the Linn County Jail on charges of rape, sodomy, and custodial interference.

Gas Prices Increase Following OPEC+ Cut

(Portland, OR) -- Gas prices continue to rise in Oregon and across the country. Triple-A reports the cut in oil production by OPEC+ along with increased demand for gas and a decline in supply caused gas prices to go up. Oregon's average increased six cents to three-99 a gallon while the national average increased a dime to three-61. Portland and Medford have some of the highest averages in the state at four-oh-eight a gallon. Diesel in Oregon declined two cents to four-61.

Oregon Zoo Welcomes Rare Bontebok Calf

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Zoo has welcomed a new rare African bontebok calf. He was born to eight-year-old "Winter" in the Zoo's Africa Savanna area. The bontebok, which is related to the antelope, is arguably the first African animal saved from human-caused extinction after it was hunted almost to extinction in the 18th and 19th centuries. The calf, now weighing about 18 pounds, won't venture outside to greet visitors until he's a little older. and the weather gets a little warmer.

Washington County Pays For Old Wood Stoves

(Hillsboro, OR) -- Washington County residents can get 250 dollars for turning in an old wood stove and not getting a new one. The old stove or insert must be uncertified or certified between 1986 and 1992. Only 40 stoves will be accepted, and you need to register online in advance. This is the third year for the turn-in event. The first two years brought in 36 old stoves.

Suspect Shot On I-5

A portion of I-5 near Salem closed Monday morning for several hours, following an officer-involved shooting. Oregon State Police say a trooper stopped to help what he thought was a disabled motorist just before 9 a-m … and discovered the driver of a semi was being held at gunpoint. There was an exchange of gunfire and the suspect - identified as 31-year-old Felipe Manzo - ran into tall grass along the interstate. When officers reached him, authorities say they provided medical attention, but Manzo died at the scene.  Trooper Andrew Tuttle suffered minor injuries and was placed on administrative leave for his role in the shooting, pending the outcome of the investigation.  

I-5 Reopens After Slide

(Woodland, WA) -- Washington Department of Transportation crews quickly cleared a mudslide that closed I-5 northbound near Woodland last night. The slide brought mud, rocks and trees across all lanes of the freeway. Two vehicles hit the debris. No one was hurt. Crews inspected the hillside, cleared the debris and reopened the freeway.

Kotek Announces Homelessness Funding

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has announced funding allocations for the Homelessness State of Emergency. Portland and Multnomah County will get 18-million dollars; Hillsboro, Beaverton and Washington County will get eight-million and Clackamas County will get four-million dollars. Eugene and Lane County will get 15-million dollars; Central Oregon will receive 14 million; Salem, Marion, and Polk counties will receive 10-million dollars and Medford and Jackson County will get nearly nine-million dollars. The money will be used to rehouse families and create new shelter beds.

Suspect Runs From Courthouse

(Hillsboro, OR) -- For the second time this year, a suspect has run from a courtroom in the Washington County Courthouse during a proceeding. The Washington County Sheriff's Office says the person was remanded by the judge to be taken into custody and ran from the courtroom with a deputy in pursuit. The person ran onto a street and was either hit by a car or ran into a car and was injured. The person was taken to a hospital. Their condition hasn't been released.

Infant Kidnapping Suspect Arrested

(Vancouver, WA) -- A suspect who stole a car in Hazel Dell with a one-month-old child inside has been arrested for kidnapping. The car was stolen Saturday morning and the victim told deputies their baby was in the back seat. The car was located near Northeast 88th Street and Highway 99 with the child still inside. The suspect fled the area. Later in the day, the victim reported their credit cards being used at Vancouver Mall and deputies arrested Mario Andrews. He's charged with theft of a motor vehicle, kidnapping in the second degree and reckless endangerment.

Fire Equipment Stolen

(Portland, OR) -- Authorities say a Portland Fire Battalion Chief had their Fire Bureau vehicle broken into Friday night and equipment was stolen. The GMC Yukon was parked near Southeast Division and 45th Avenue. The suspect broke the rear window and stole a turnout jacket and a Self Contained Breathing Apparatus that's used when firefighters go into a burning building. The items were worth 10-thousand dollars. If you see the items, contact the Portland Fire non-emergency number.

Washington State Assault Weapons Ban

(Olympia, WA) -- Both houses of the Washington legislature have passed a bill that bans the sale of assault weapons. The bill has been requested by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson since the 2016 mass shooting at a Mukilteo house party. The Senate made amendments that will require a vote in the House before the bill goes to the Governor, who's expected to sign it. The bill passed on a party line vote. Republicans say the ban won't address the problem. They say more programs for drug and mental health treatment are needed.

Mifepristone Ruling Injunction

(Olympia, WA) -- A ban on the abortion drug mifepristone has been temporarily stopped in 16 states and the District of Columbia. The Washington and Oregon Attorneys General joined with the other states to fight a ruling by a Texas federal judge that banned sale of the drug. The FDA is also expected to appeal the judge's ruling. The state's argue the drug was approved by the FDA in 2000 and has been used safely by millions of Americans. The states are also suing the FDA to remove what they say are overly restrictive regulations on the drug. That lawsuit is still pending.

Oregon Zoo's Black Bear Takoda Dies

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Zoo's youngest black bear, named Takoda, has died. The bear was under anesthesia for a routine health check on Friday when it went into cardiac arrest. The zoo's staff performed CPR for more than 30 minutes, but he couldn't be revived. Takoda's name means "Friend to all" in Sioux. He was orphaned in Montana and arrived at the zoo in Portland in 2010.

USDA Under Secretary Meets With Rural Oregon Leaders

DONALD, OR -- The USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development met with the leaders of 18 rural Oregon cities Thursday, along with Congresswoman Andrea Salinas.

In the Donald Fire Station, in northern Marion County, Mayors, City Councilors and City Managers from the Willamette Valley talked about the challenges of accessing Rural Development funds. Donald City Manager Eric Underwood says his town needs a new drinking water well and waste water treatment plant. But the cost of such work in Donald is the same as for a much larger city, "We’re a city of about a thousand population. We have six people on staff. We are on a tight budget, we’re on a cash basis. And, it is almost impossible for us to match some of the requirements for these federal grants." It was a struggle shared by many others, who say federal requirements are too stringent and the process is too arduous.

Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small agreed things need to change. "I talked to a lot of folks who received Rural Development funding in the past, and I get the chance to learn from them about how we can do it better in the future." She tells KBND News, "When it comes to supporting rural people and rural governments, it’s about providing flexibility and making it easier to access our programs. So, whether that’s investing in technical assistance - folks who could help support going through those applications - or finding ways to just make the applications easier." She committed to looking into ways to address statutory and regulatory burdens.

Torres Small is encouraged by the work communities and the state are doing to move infrastructure projects forward, "What I saw that was really interesting was some local expertise on how to weave all of the different funding sources that exist. And, to see the state investing in that, to see private philanthropy invest in that, and to see an interest in receiving some support federally as well, I think is exciting because it shows Oregon wants to support rural places and rural people."

U.S. Rep. Andrea Salinas invited Torrres Small to the Sixth District as part of her work on the Farm Bill Reauthorization, "I have to get all of my project requests and authorizations in by the end of April and our communities are in need." After hearing about a pilot project available in other areas, Salinas wants to expand access to the Rural Partners Network in the Farm Bill. 

 

Oregon Chips Act Passes, Praised By Governor During Commerce Visit

PORTLAND, OR -- Oregon elected leaders are lobbying hard to get a big chunk of the grant money available through the federal Chips and Science Act. The State Legislature has approved a bill designed to help businesses, universities and communities apply for that funding. 

During this week’s meeting with the U.S. Commerce Secretary, State Representative Janelle Bynum heralded Senate Bill 4 as an example of how Oregon is preparing for an increase in semiconductor research and manufacturing, "In that bill, we have $190 million for grants and loans to facilitate applications and loans to the Chips and Science Act, $10 million to assist local governments with site readiness, and another $10 million to support public universities who are looking to leverage these federal research grants." During Thursday's final vote, she said, "I think in my six years here, we’ve never had this kind of pro-business, pro-worker, pro-Oregon collaboration."

But several opponents expressed concern with provisions that allow the Governor to make new land use decisions. "Section 10 of Senate Bill 4 gives the Governor a one-time fast pass around Oregon’s 50-year land use laws," said Rep. Ana Scharf, "While supporters will say Section 10 is a one-time deal, is very restrictive and only to attract semiconductor business to Oregon, I would disagree." 

Rep. Jami Cate is also worried it carries too big of a price tag, "We’re committing to an investment in Oregon’s future without knowing the rest of the pieces that need to fall into place and what the cost of those pieces will be." And Rep. Brian Stout says it doesn’t go far enough to make sure the money spent will do any good, "A reactionary attempt to one specific private business sector to attract millions of federal dollars to Oregon. We have seen this approach play out before, and there is no guarantee that any of these monies will achieve the desired lofty end results or meet the aspirational visions imagined with the current legislation." SB 4 passed Thursday with bipartisan support and is headed to the Governor's desk.

Eerlier this week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimonda toured high tech facilities in Hillsboro and met with students at Portland Community College's microtechnology lab. She also took part in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, Gov. Tina Kotek, U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and the leaders of several Oregon colleges and universities. State Senator Janeen Sollman told the Secretary the state is ready to grow the workforce, "It’s about keeping our kids here, working here in Oregon. These are incredibly well-paying jobs with tuition reimbursement and benefits." She added, more semiconductor fabrication brings high-paying jobs in the high-tech sector and the construction industry, "We know that one fab coming to Oregon will bring us $2.8 billion for our economy in Oregon, over the next 20 years."

Secretary Raimondo says growing the U.S. semiconductor workforce through the Chips and Science Act does more than boost the economy, "90% of all of the advanced chips America uses are made in Taiwan. So, this is about America leading the world. It’s about securing our future. It’s about our national security. And it’s about being a global leader in technology and innovation."

According to Raimondo, the federal government wants research facilities strategically placed around the country, based on input from scientists, "They will help us to figure out which areas of semiconductor R&D where we need to be focused on. And then we’re going to look for regions around America that already have a critical mass of talent in research and development." Applying for a facility will be a competitive process. Gov. Kotek says she will sign SB 4 to clear the way for Oregon to be considered, "We know that we are well-positioned to be a research hub for the country and we’re going to do everything we can to make that happen."

Sec. Raimondo agreed Oregon is well-poised as a leader in the micro-technology and semiconductor industry, "I think you will be extremely competitive. What you have here: 15% of all the workforce in the industry is here in Oregon, the leading companies here in Oregon, a Governor and a Congressional delegation getting behind it. There is a lot to like." She expects the process to apply for those research facilities to begin in the fall.

Photo: (l-r) Gov. Tina Kotek, Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo, Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici meet with PCC students, April 5, 2023.

Two Dead Following Shooting

(Portland, OR) -- Two people are dead following a shooting Wednesday night in Northeast Portland. Portland Police responded to Northeast Lombard Street near 22nd Avenue where they found a woman who was already dead and the body of a male victim after a search of the area. The medical examiner will determine their identities and the cause and manner of the deaths. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact police.

Woodburn Teachers Vote To Strike

(Woodburn, OR) -- The teachers' union in Woodburn overwhelmingly voted in favor of a strike. It's the latest development in a "bargaining crisis" with the Woodburn Public School district. Educators are calling for smaller class sizes, more prep time, and competitive wages. The union noted that 63 Woodburn teachers -- that's one out of every five -- have resigned since the start of the academic year. The strike will begin in nine days if the union and district are unable to reach an agreement.

Murder Investigation Underway In The Dalles

(The Dalles, OR) -- Police have a man in custody in connection to a murder in The Dalles. Local law enforcement responded to the incident late Wednesday night and say the victim was taken to Mid-Columbia Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead. The suspect was booked on charges of first-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon.

OR Senate Passes Bill Cracking Down On Street Racing

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Senate is approving a bill that cracks down on street racing. The Senate passed SB 615 yesterday. The bill would increase penalties for those convicted of street racing, raising the punishment for a first-time offense to one year behind bars, a six-thousand-250-dollar fine, or both. Subsequent convictions within a five-year period would be punishable by five years in prison, a 125-thousand-dollar fine, or both. The bill now moves on to the state House.

Former Elks Lodge Burns Down In NE Portland

(Portland, OR) -- Firefighters responded to a massive blaze before sunrise yesterday at the former Elks Lodge in Northeast Portland. Crews rushed to the scene to find flames bursting through the roof of the abandoned structure. Officials said no one was inside. The building was set to be demolished anyway this month, so firefighters took to a defensive approach. Portland Fire and Rescue said it's the seventh fire at the site since the building closed.

Police Officer Fires Shot During Pursuit

(Boardman, OR) -- A police officer is on administrative leave after firing a shot at a car during a pursuit in Boardman late Tuesday night. Oregon State Police say a Morrow County Sheriff's deputy tried to stop a speeding car on Highway 730, but the driver fled. The pursuit continued through the residential area of Boardman where the suspect crashed. During the incident, a Boardman Police officer fired a shot hitting the vehicle. The suspect, 52-year-old Gregory Salverda, of Boardman, was hospitalized with minor injuries.

Portland Police Start Pilot Drone Program

(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Police Bureau is starting a pilot drone program. City Council approved police to use drones on a limited basis. The Traffic Division will use them to document crash scenes and the Metro Explosive Disposal Unit will use drones to examine potential devices. They will not be used for random mass surveillance activities or crowd control. They can also not be used to target a person based solely on individual characteristics. Pilots will be trained and licensed to follow FAA regulations.

Applications Taken For Oregon Supreme Court Vacancy

(Salem, OR) -- Governor Tina Kotek has started accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Oregon Supreme Court. Justice Adrienne Nelson was appointed to the United States District Court of Oregon. The Governor fills judicial vacancies based on merit. She's encouraging lawyers with a wide variety of backgrounds to apply. Qualifications include being a citizen of the United States, being a resident of Oregon for at least three years, and having been admitted to practice law in Oregon.

Death Investigations In Marion County

(Salem, OR) -- The Marion County Sheriff's Office is investigating the deaths of a husband and wife. On March 30th, 911 received a call about a man and a woman who were found dead in their house. The two people were identified as 37-year-old Kali Roque and 37-year-old Juan Roque-Delaguarda. The medical examiner has not released the cause and manner of their deaths. Once the investigation is complete, it'll be reviewed by the Marion County District Attorney's Office.

Fire Engine Crash Injures One Person

(Turner, OR) -- The driver of a fire engine from Turner was injured in a crash yesterday afternoon. Two vehicles were involved. The crash happened on Delaney Road Southeast, outside of Turner. The fire engine was responding to a call when the crash happened. The firefighter was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Oregon Zoo Raises Three Rare Bat Pups

(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Zoo is raising three of the world's rarest bat pups, helping to bring them back from the brink of extinction. They are Rodrigues Flying Fox pups, so named because of their expressive furry faces and pointy ears. They're native only to the Island of Rodrigues, in the Indian Ocean, where habitat destruction and a cyclone reduced their population to less than a hundred bats in the 1970s. Now, the population has rebounded to around 20-thousand. Zoo visitors can see the babies in the bat cave, located in the Africa Rain Forest exhibit.

OSP Seeks Information In Missing Woman's Homicide

(Cave Junction, OR) -- A woman missing in Southern Oregon was found dead and Oregon State Police say it was a homicide. Twenty-five-year-old Aleah Aaron, of Cave Junction, was reported missing on March 30th. Her body was found in a rural area near Cave Junction. Her cause of death hasn't been released. Police arrested 35-year-old Thomas Fuertes, of O'Brien, in connection with Aaron's death. He's charged with Murder and Abuse of a Corpse.

Gas Prices Rise After OPEC+ Production Cut

(Portland, OR) -- Gas prices are up after the crude oil production cut announced by OPEC-plus. Triple-A reports the national average increased seven cents to three-51 a gallon and Oregon's average increased four cents to three-93. The OPEC-plus announcement caused the price of crude oil to top the 80 dollar per barrel mark. Prices are also up, because refineries are switching to more expensive summer blends of fuel, along with higher demand and tighter supplies.

Half Of Oregonians Have Filed Income Taxes

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Department of Revenue reports that about half of Oregonians have filed their state income taxes. They expect around two-point-two million people to file returns this year. Of the one-point-one million people who have filed so far, over 820-thousand have received refunds. The Oregon Department of Revenue website has a "Where's My Refund" tool. Both federal and state income tax returns need to be filed by April 18th, because in Washington D.C. April 17th is the Emancipation Day holiday.

Oregon Hospitals Report Record Losses in 2022

(Lake Oswego, OR) -- Oregon hospital losses grew last year putting hospitals in the worst financial position since 1993. The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems says rising expenses, workforce shortages, and stalled revenue caused the problem. Labor expenses were up 26-percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. Operating expenses were up 11-percent. The Oregon legislature is considering bills to help boost the health care work force and create a task force to explore ways to increase bed capacity outside of hospitals, so patients have a place to recover if they can't go home.

Oregon Buying $25 Million In Fire Engines

(Salem, OR) -- Seventy-six local fire service agencies in Oregon will get new fire trucks through a state program. The Oregon State Fire Marshal has announced 25-million dollars to boost firefighting capacity. The engines are being located where they can boost initial fire attack, regional mutual aid, and conflagration needs. The new trucks will start being delivered this year with the remainder of trucks arriving next year.

Cameras Coming To Washington Work Zones

(Olympia, WA) -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed bill that aims to protect workers on state highways. The Washington legislature passed the bill with unanimous support. It allows speed safety cameras to be used in state highway work zones. In 2021, there were 283 minor injury crashes, 28 serious injury crashes and five fatal crashes in work zones. Distracted driving, following too close, and speeding were the main causes of the crashes. The goal is to get drivers to slow down and pay more attention in work zones. It takes effect in June of 2024.

FBI Boosts Effort To Recruit Women

PORTLAND, OR --The FBI has joined more than 260 other U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies in the 30x30 Initiative, to increase female recruits to at least 30% by 2030.

Stephanie Shark is the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Portland FBI Field Office, overseeing the National Security Program. She’s been with the bureau 17 years. "Before I signed on," she tells KBND News, "I demanded that I speak with another female agent, to make sure that there was room for upward mobility in the FBI for women."

She says a large number of current female agents still don’t realize women serve in leadership at the Bureau, but they are critical to law enforcement efforts, "Study after study has shown that women are better at building trust in the community. A lot of time communities will open up to women in a way they won’t, in general, open up to men. Although, I work with some fabulous men who have the best relationships with others. Women, in general, are more community-oriented and compassionate with people in a variety of roles, and they have special skills for de-escalation." 

In ASAC Shark's National Security role, she says she's seen the important perspective women bring to investigations like domestic terrorism, "Terrorism is rooted in fear. It’s rooted in terror. And, if you don’t understand what it’s like to be afraid; if you don’t understand what it’s like to be on the other end of threats, you may not appreciate the gravity of the circumstance. If you’re not a woman who’s been afraid to walk home at night, you may not appreciate the dangers that people are in."

Right now only 23.4% of the agents nationwide are women. "The female special agent population was stagnant at 17-19% for almost two decades," says Shark, "It was only three years ago that we were finally able to break the 20%." In Portland, Shark says, it’s still only about 18%, but the number grows with each recruitment class.

Click HERE to learn more about the FBI's involvement in the 30x30 Initiative.  

 

 

Several Overdose Deaths Reported

(Portland, OR) -- Several people are dead after overdosing over the weekend. Portland Police and emergency responders received eleven calls for medical emergencies on Friday. Three of those calls resulted in a death investigation because of an overdoes. Officials say almost all of the overdoses had opioid narcotics like fentanyl involved. Police say resources for drug abuse and addiction services can be found on the Portland Police Bureau website.

Oregon Senator Wyden Heading Congressional Investigation On Pharmacy Benefits Managers

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is leading a congressional investigation into the high cost of prescription medications and the roll of pharmacy benefits managers in pricing. About 85-percent of Americans get their drug prescriptions through a pharmacy benefits manager, or PBM. They are under fire for practices that watchdogs say drive up the cost of prescription medications, with independent pharmacies and consumers getting the worst of it. As chair of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Wyden led a hearing last week with a panel of experts on the PBM problem.

Healthcare Mask Requirement Ends today

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon's mask requirement for healthcare facilities ends today. This applies to hospitals, mobile clinics, ambulances, outpatient facilities, dental offices, long term care facilities and urgent care centers. Some health care settings may decide on their own to continue the requirement. Anyone who wants to wear a mask can continue to do so. OHA recommends anyone who is sick and going to a healthcare facility to wear a mask.

Woman Killed After Being Shot Inside Hillsboro Bar

(Hillsboro, OR) -- A woman is dead after a shooting in Hillsboro early yesterday morning. According to the Hillsboro Police Department, it happened at before three a.m. at the Kim Red Rose bar on Southwest Oak Street. Officers found the 42-year-old woman who was shot and killed inside the bar. According to police, someone shot the woman and drove off. They believe a group of four people who were asked to leave are connected. There have been no arrest.

Shroom House Permanently Closed

(Portland, OR) -- A local herbal store is now listed as permanently close after a police raid in December. Portland's Shroom House had been illegally selling magic mushrooms and had been open for business since October 2022. Officials say they found over 22 pounds of psilocybin and also seized 13-thousand dollars in cash. Four people were arrested but the store owner and manager have pled not guilty for 40 felony charges.

Two Idaho Men Killed In Eastern Oregon Plane Crash

BAKER CO, OR -- Two Idaho men were killed in a plane crash along the Oregon-Idaho border, over the weekend. Baker County Sheriff Travis Ash saw the aircraft in distress before it crashed, Sunday morning, and helped search for the wreckage, along with bystanders and Idaho Power employees. They found the plane on a ridge above an Idaho Power complex. 

Investigators learned the plane was piloted by 43-year-old Terry Lee Richards, of Middleton, ID. He took off from the Caldwell Executive Airport with passenger 24-year-old Caleb Andrew Tennant, also of Middleton. They were flying to Lewiston, ID, but did not survived the crash.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined. 

 
Photo courtesy Baker County Sheriff's Office

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