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Regional News Archives for 2011-06


Domestic Violence Bill Passes


With the end of the session ticking down, the Oregon Legislature is very busy passing as many laws as possible. Wednesday, the House passed HB 2244, which protects the personal information of victims of domestic violence. Democrat leader Dave Hunt made a motion to reconsider the bill one day after it was defeated in the House floor. In their news release, Representative Mary Nolan of southwest Portland says "common sense and compassion prevailed today...and victims of domestic violence are safer as a result."

 

 

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Hookah Bars Approved


A bill that allows hookah lounges already in existence in Oregon to keep operating is headed to Governor Kitzhaber’s desk for final approval. Representative Mike Schaufler says adults have a right to submit themselves to smoke in a hookah lounge or cigar bar, if they choose. The bill will require cigar bars to operate in structures that are not connected to other businesses, except for a handful of cigar bars that are currently operating with separate ventilation systems.

 

 

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Cannon Beach Officials Happy ODOT Work is Done


Mike Morgan is the Mayor of Cannon Beach, and says the city is happy that upgrades to the Dennis Edwards tunnel on Highway 26 are complete. The project is finally finished after six months of work, but he says there's another project looming. No word on whether anything like that is being planned. Work inside the tunnel will wrap up by noon on Friday.

 

 

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DeFazio Wants Obama to Keep Taxes Up


Oregon Democrat Congressman Peter DeFazio says he's afraid that President Obama will cave in to Republican demands for massive cuts, in a deal to raise the nation's debt limit. He says: “It’s pretty typical of his negotiating. The results of his past negotiations like extending all the Bush tax cuts have been disastrous. SO many of us are concerned.” And DeFazio calls for higher taxes on upper incomes, saying that tax rates now are the lowest since 1950.

 

 

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NOAA Opens New Home in Newport


The move from Seattle to Newport was controversial. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Pacific Operations center officially opens Friday. David Hall with the NOAA's Marine Operations Center says the center operates as a homeport for the four NOAA ships in the Pacific Northwest. Hall says it will provide logistical, engineering, electronics, maintenance and administrative support for the nine ships in NOAA’s Pacific Fleet. Many of those employed at the center moved to Newport from Seattle, where the center has been based until this year. Hall says a variety of ships will move in and out of the port. “Oceanographic research vessels, which monitor the health of the ocean. We also have fishery survey vessels, which collect vital data about fish stocks.” The facility will occasionally be open to the public.

 

 

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Governor Signs Education Investment Bill


Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has signed the law setting up the centerpiece of his education plan. He says with the plan on board, they can begin the process of developing an effective and accountable zero through 20 education system. The investment board is expected to have its plans ready to run through the next legislative session in 2012.

 

 

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911 Out in Lane County Tuesday


911 service has been restored in Central Lane County after an outage that lasted about 90 minutes. A temporary fix was in place about a half hour after service went out. Meanwhile several communities could not dial emergency services directly. Calls to 911 were back in operation just before 11:15 a.m. The phone company is looking into what caused the outage.

 

 

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Betty Roberts Remembered


Betty Roberts is being remembered as a pioneer in Oregon politics. Portland Representative Jefferson Smith has a lot to say about her accomplishments. “She was a wonderful woman; a pioneer, at the time leading the charge for greater equity in our civic, state and electoral leadership.” In 1968, Roberts was the only woman in the Oregon Senate co-sponsoring the original Bottle Bill. In the early 1970s, she ran for Governor, and later U.S. Senate. In 1982, she became the first woman appointed to the State Supreme Court. Roberts died at her Portland home Saturday, she was 88.

 

 

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17 Year Old Arrested in Murder Case


It’s a murder case investigation in Oregon that stretches from the Oregon coast to Milwaukie, Oregon, and a 17 year old boy is under arrest and charged with the murder.  The body found on Sunday is a man believed to be murdered in Lincoln City. Lincoln County District Attorney, Rob Bovette says, while the cause of the death is under investigation, they believe he was murdered: “This morning, detectives with our Major Crime Team were assisted by Clackamas County Sheriffs Office and arrested a 17 year old male in Milwaukie for that murder.” Bovette says the victim was killed sometime within the last four days. “The 17 year old male suspect fled Lincoln City in the victims’ vehicle, ” which was recovered by Portland Police. Police identified the victim as Darrin Dow, 49, of Tigard. Police have arrested Joseph Marsala, 17, in connection with the death. 

 

 

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Skinned Cats Found in Oregon City


A disturbing case of animal cruelty has Oregon City Police concerned. Two different mutilated cats have been found. Lieutenant Jim Band says they were obviously killed by a person, not an animal.  Both cats were gray with white feet and medium length fur. They are trying to find out where the cats came from.  The first was found June 11th; the second, last week. Anyone with information is asked to call Oregon City Police.

 

 

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Oregon Retirees Living In Washington Lose Benefit


The Oregon House has ended a tax benefit for tax retirees who live in Washington State. Currently retirees are given extra money to make up for income taxes even if they don't pay income taxes. Salem Democrat Brian Clem says it's about time. The bill now heads to the Senate.

 

 

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Vernonia Breaks Ground for New High School


There’s reason to celebrate in the coast range town of Vernonia. The first walls are being raised for the new school that'll replace the buildings destroyed in recent floods. A new look for the school: it will have two floors. Superintendent Ken Cox says the new building is well above the flood plain. It’ll open next year.

 

 

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Washington Governor's Race Heating Up


Washington’s 2012 Governors race is getting more crowded. Seattle Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee says he will focus on jobs and not just where he lives.  Inslee is making several stops throughout the State, including a visit to Vancouver on Tuesday.  Attorney General Rob McKenna is also running on the Republican ticket.

 

 

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Strangulation Crime Now Had A Heavier Penalty


A bill headed to the Governor’s desk makes many cases of strangulation a more serious crime. Portland Senator Diane Rosenbaum hopes it will offer more protections to abuse victims, especially sexual abuse. The bill increases strangulation from a misdemeanor to Class C felony in some cases, punishable by up to five years in prison.

 

 

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Drunk Driving Bill Headed to Kitzhaber's Desk


Oregon lawmakers have a message for drivers: don't drive drunk. One bill increases various fees by $100 for those convicted of DUII. Pendleton Senator David Nelson says if you ant to avoid the fees, it’s simple: don’t drive drunk. But Scappoose Senator Betsy Johnson is troubled.  She says more affluent offenders would be asked to pay more than those less well off. Another bill requires ignition interlock devices for those who enter a diversion program rather than serving prison time. They're both headed to the Governors desk.

 

 

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Farm To School Program is Well Rounded


The Oregon Legislature has sent the farm to school bill to the Governor for his signature. Senator Jackie Winters says getting fresh produce from Oregon farmers into schools is one way to help reduce the rising diabetes rate among children. Besides getting local produce into schools, the bill also will help programs to teach kids about gardening, cooking, composting and recycling.

 

 

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Overall Counties Unemployment Numbers Better


Good news on the economy in Oregon, where the unemployment rate is now below double digits in the majority of counties.  The lowest rate of all is in Gilliam County, where economist Nick Beleiciks has an idea why. The unemployment rate in Gilliam County is only 5.6%. The highest in the state is Crook County at 15.1% but that should be getting better with construction of a new Facebook Data Center.

 

 

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Fair Season Warning


A warning from the State Veterinarian: protect your animals when going to fairs or exhibits.  Dr. Don Hansen says it's easy to spread disease, unless you take precautions. You should also wash your hands after touching another animals. And when you return home, keep your animals separate from other animals for 7 to 14 days.

 

 

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Vets Warn About Toxic Algae


Lake Oswego veterinarian, Dr. Gregg Takashima, wants pet owners to know the warning signs of blue green algae toxicity. Summer is when the bacteria shows up as a scummy, blue-green sheen on area ponds, lakes and rivers.  It can kill a dog that ingests it through drinking the water, or even swimming through it.  Dr. Takashima says if your dog has been in water somewhere and exhibits those symptoms, get immediate vet care.

 

 

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Residents Protest Proposed Power Line


A demonstration was held outside the Bonneville Power Administration building in Vancouver to oppose a planned high-tension power line through Clark County. Erma Sarasohn says the cheapest route goes through residential areas. They'd like a route farther into the forest that doesn't affect as many residents; but that's also more expensive. BPA says the region will need to electricity from the new line by 2016. A draft environmental impact statement will be released later this year and it will list a primary and an alternate route.

 

 

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Barbecues Cause Two Portland Fires


Two fires in Portland should serve as a reminder to all of us. Fire officials say both fires were caused by barbecue ashes that were improperly thrown out. During the first incident on Northeast Lombard Street early Saturday, a man woke up his neighbors in the burning apartment by throwing things at their windows. The second fire was sparked that evening, when occupants on Southeast Madison Street disposed of briquet ash in a garbage can stored on the side of the house.

 

 

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Faith Healing Couple Sentenced


Hoping to send a message to the followers of Christ Church, Clackamas County Judge Jeffrey Jones handed down the maximum 90 day sentence to Timothy and Rebecca Wyland. The Wylands were convicted of felony criminal mistreatment for failing to treat an eye condition that nearly blinded their daughter. They will also be on probation for three years and must provide medical care for their daughter.

 

 

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Ulynk Help Businesses Spread the Word


Marques Alexander is one of several Oregon State students who created a software program to fill a gap in the world of direct marketing. “Ulynk" is now a full-fledged company the graduates are running. The technology allows businesses or organizations to create a database of subscribers they can send mass text messages to with information about an offer, an event or anything he says. Marques says right now they're focusing on Portland, but want to expand their business to other markets across the country.

 

 

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Prison Escapee Couldn't "Hide"


An Oregon Penitentiary inmate who stole a truck and escaped from a work crew is back behind bars. Lt. Gregg Hastings says David Olvera Martinez was pulled over for having no plates, and it quickly became obvious that he was a runaway. He was wearing his Department of Corrections jeans, that still had the DOC logo, which aren’t sold in the public.  Plus he spray painted the pickup door to cover the words “Inmate Work Crew,” but the logo was still visible to troopers, who hauled him to jail.

 

 

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Foreign Human Trafficking Victims Gain Support


Immigration officials want victims of human trafficking to know there's hope for escape and a path to citizenship. Evelyn Sahli, head of the Portland's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office, says people who work with trafficking victims are receiving training on the T-Visa. The T-Visa allows victims to stay in the country with a work permit and apply for permanent citizenship after three years. Karen Fitzgerald also with Immigration Services says there are thousands of victims. Only 447 T-Visas were issued last year nationwide.

 

 

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Kitzhaber Signs "Cool Schools" Legislation


Governor John Kitzhaber has completed one of his campaign promises.  He's signed the "Cool Schools" legislation. The program puts people back to work by making school buildings more energy-efficient. It helps districts pay for new energy efficient upgrades. It adds jobs and helps Oregon businesses. The bill sets up a clean-energy deployment fund, using existing sources, from which school districts can get grants and loans for weatherization and other energy-efficiency projects. Kitzhaber says 15 jobs are needed for every $1-million in upgrades. 43 schools are already signed up for the program.

 

 

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Glaxo Smith Kline Fined for Sub-standard Drugs


Pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Smith Kline agrees to a $41-million settlement with 38 states, because a plant in Puerto Rico was making substandard drugs. Tony Green, in the Oregon Attorney General's Office, says Oregon and Illinois lead the way. The plant has been shut down. The drugs weren't harmful, but they didn't correct the problems they were supposed to fix.

 

 

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Eugene Man Dies in Warm Springs Crash


A 43 year old Eugene man suffered died in fatal truck accident on Highway 26 west of Warm Springs. The accident happened shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Officers say, Bill Lea's pickup traveled across the westbound lane, off the north shoulder and collided with several large boulders. He died before paramedics could get him to a hospital.

 

 

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Virtual School To Be Monitored Closer


The Oregon House approves a bill that sets some governance standards for publicly backed virtual charter schools. Portland Democrat Lew Frederic says the legislation needs work and possibly threatens public funds designated for brick and mortar schools. Many Democrats argued the public wasn't given enough opportunity for involvement, except Salem’s Brian Clem, who says there is still time for fixes and time for comment.

 

 

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State Employee Challenging State Health Benefits


A national legal aid group has filed suit against the state on behalf of a trans-gender state employee who was denied medical coverage for a doctor-recommended surgical procedure.  Alec Esquivel, 42, a state law clerk has been transitioning from female to male for a decade. His doctor recently recommending a hysterectomy. The State Insurance Board denied coverage. Lamda legal attorney Dru Levasseur says denial of coverage for the procedure is a violation of the state's antidiscrimination laws.

 

 

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Foster Kids Will Be Able to Attend College Gratis


A bill that would allow Oregon foster children under 25-years-of age to attend state colleges and universities free of charge is headed to the Governor's desk for final approval. Senator Fred Girod says also the Oregon Student Commission is required to prioritize foster children for receiving the Oregon Opportunity Grant.

Those who opposed the legislation said they were concerned that the bill does not set more qualification standards for the students, such as a minimum GPA requirement.

 

 

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D.C. Dems Push to Exempt Oregon from Off Shore Drilling


No oil drilling off the Oregon coast, is what some Democrats in Congress are saying. Peter DeFazio says Republicans are pushing through a series of drill-baby-drill measures. DeFazio and other Democrats are trying to get Oregon exempted from a measure that makes it easier for oil companies to get permits for deep-water drilling.

 

 

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House Passes revised Business Credit


The Oregon House has passed a new version of the "Business Energy Tax Credit." Representative Vickie Burger says what was known as the "Betsy" tax credit cost far more than expected and had to go away. The new bill breaks the energy tax credits into three categories: renewables, conservation and transit. They all have caps and the Transit Tax Credit will go away in 2016. The bill now moves to the Senate, which will have to act fast, because only a few days remain before the session ends.

 

 

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Hidden Treasure Could Be Yours


The State of Oregon has $400 million in unclaimed property and some of it could be yours. “Most of the items are $500 or less, but in today economic climate, if you get $100 you didn’t you had, that’s great.” Patrick Tate with the Department of State Lands says their new website allows you to now search and file a claim online.

Go to: www.oregonup.us for more.

 

 

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Marquam Bridge Earthquake Prepared


The USGSs has upgraded the earthquake detection devices on the Marquam Bridge in Portland.   Jim Smith, with the USGS, says they were originally installed during the seismic retrofit in 1995. When a large quake hits the devices will record how the bridge is affected. The data will be used to determine how the Marquam Bridge survives the quake and also how to design future bridges that are more earthquake resistant.

 

 

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Woodland Man Hero to Police


The head custodian for Woodland Schools in southwest Washington is a hero today. It was his 911 call to police that helped put a murder suspect behind bars. Bill Hanson really paid attention when he got the reverse 911 call, with the description of a suspect the police were looking for. He spotted the guy near Woodland’s Horseshoe Lake Park. He didn’t east any time calling 911. Sheriff’s office and Klamath PD responded. They ultimately located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. Police say “Reverse 911” did its’ job well. They say getting more eyes out in the area and being able to spot the guy was a perfect marriage of law enforcement and the citizen’s community.

 

 

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Take Your Dog to Work Friday


Dog behaviorist Al Holzer has some words of caution for dog owners who may want to "take their dog to work" this Friday. He says if you're not confident in your control over your dog in an unfamiliar environment, then don't take them to the office. If you think it's okay, he suggests bringing plenty of toys, treats and familiar items like a blanket or bed to help bring the dog's stress level down.

 

 

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Oregon Has One Great Pizza "Topping"


So you think your pizza delivery guy is good? A Portland area pizza delivery guy is actually the best in the nation. Alex Valenzuela of Wilsonville man was named the best pizza delivery driver in the country. He's been doing this for 10 years and says he loves driving for Dominos. "I've made a lot of friends. People now know me by my name. A lot of regulars that call us every other day or so.” He's only had to cut one shift short once; when his car over-heated. And his best tip ever? $60.

 

 

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Washington Has Good Signs of Hiring


Is it a good sign for our northwest economy? All of a sudden southwest Washington is experiencing a hiring boom. 21 businesses have signaled their intentions to relocate or expand in Clark and Cowlitz Counties, and Rick Vansise with the Washington State Employment Security Department says and this means jobs:  “This comes at a great time to put people who have job skills matched up with these companies; back to work. It’s been a long wait. This is certainly a good sign of getting the economy back on track." He says there are 545 different job openings there that pay between $15 and $30 an hour. 

 

 

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New PDX Airlines Flies to Vegas-Cheap!


Spirit Airlines is offering non stop flights to Las Vegas out of Portland International Airport starting September 22nd. Robin Platt with Spirit says their rates are often much cheaper than other carriers. Book online by midnight Tuesday night, you can get a special $9 fare each way. For more go to: www.spirit.com.

 

 

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Senate Passes Education Bill


The Oregon senate has passed a bill to create the Oregon Education Investment Board. Democrat State Senator Mark Hass says it would put coordinate all levels of education from pre-kindergarten to post secondary. But, opponents objected saying that it hands control from the Legislature to the Governor and that safeguards aren't in place to protect the education system.

 

 

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Gas Prices Dropping


As the price of crude oil declines, gas prices are continuing to fall. Triple-A's Marie Dodds says diesel is also down a couple of cents to an average of $4.20 a gallon. The falling price of crude oil means the prices for gas and diesel will continue to decline. Bend’s average is about $3.81 this week.

 

 

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Lawmakers Hope to Pass Foreclosure Bill


Oregon lawmakers are being chided by troubled homeowners for failing to act on bills that could protect people in foreclosure. Bend homeowner Tim Collette says he’s stuck in a bewildering maze. “I put $125,000 down on my house. There are a lot of people like that. And we never missed out payment until the bank told us to in order to qualify for a modification and eventually they told us we didn’t qualify at all.” A bill designed to clear up the confusion is stuck in committee... along with other bills designed to help the foreclosure mess. Some lawmakers are demanding action before the legislature goes home, which could be at the end of the week.

 

 

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Senate Passes Bill to Fund Afterschool Meals


More public schools and community groups may soon be able to provide food to low-income children, under a bill passed Thursday by the Oregon Senate. Senate Bill 480 provides $150,000 in start-up funds to the Oregon Department of Education for grants to school districts, government agencies, and community groups eligible to take part in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Afterschool Meal and Snack Program. The bill now moves to the House.

 

 

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Police Deal With Increased Gang Violence


In Portland, police are seeing gang violence almost every day, often with shootings. They are looking for volunteers to help. Volunteers are still wanted to help keep the peace in the wake of increasing gang violence, and including over 40 shootings already this year. And for at least one member of this group, there’s a personal connection.  Roy Washington is the foster dad of 14-year old Shiloh Hampton, who died in April, after being shot near Lloyd Center: “We come to keep peace, or help provide peace around our young people.” Greeting those they come across with a smile and handshake; volunteers are hitting the hot spots, where young people hang out. Police have responded to a spike in gang shooting, with “Operation Cool Down”, shifting officers to beef up the gang unit.  On Saturday night in Portland, there were three suspected gang shootings.

 

 

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Chief Counsel of CJD Resigns Over Mistake


Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has announced that the Chief Counsel of the Criminal Justice Division has resigned. A statement issued by the Department of Justice says Sean Riddell deleted a large number of e-mails; mistakenly believing they were backed-up on computer tape.  Department spokesman Tony Green says Riddell will return to the agency after a leave of absence and work a different position. Green says some of the e-mails were recovered but would not say which to which case the e-mails may have been related. The Justice Department has been under scrutiny lately as details about a messy investigation of the Department of Energy have been revealed.

 

 

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Pendleton Mills & Round Up At Odds


The Pendleton Woolen Mills has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court against the Pendleton Round-Up over "Let'er Buck” cologne. The Round-Up's attorney, Sheila Fox Morrison, they'll defend the Round-Up's right to use its name as well as its own copyrighted slogans. In a statement;  the woolen mills says it's worked with the Round-Up for over 100 years and that while the disagreement is unfortunate.  They need to protect their trademark.

 

 

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Cool Spring Slows Crops


The cool spring weather has Oregon farmers worried about their crops. Bruce Pokarney, with the Oregon Department of Agriculture says some strawberry fields are still green. Wheat farmers in the Willamette Valley are dealing with "stripe rust" caused by the wet weather, which can reduce crop yield. Pokarney says if warm weather arrives, there's still time for crops to turn around in time for harvest. But farmers are starting to think it's not going to be a banner year.

 

 

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Oregon's Largest Pot Grow Busted


A massive pot bust in northeast Oregon.  According to Oregon State Police, it's the largest outdoor pot grow ever found in Oregon. Over 91,000 plants spanning more than a mile long in a ravine in Wallowa County on forest service land. Several weapons were also seized and six men arrested. Bear hunters first discovered the grow which led to a multi agency investigation and raid.

 

 

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Boat Inspections Mandatory


A bill headed to Governor Kitzhaber’s desk makes it mandatory for boaters to stop at inspection stations in Oregon to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Portland Senator Jackie Dingfelder says violators can be cited for failing to stop, however if you stop and cooperate,  you won't face any sanctions even if your boat must be decontaminated.

 

 

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No Stranger to Japan


Carol Skowron has been working with Mercy Corps in Japan since the triple disaster back in March. She's been doing everything from distributing supplies to developing economic recovery programs for local fishermen. Scowron was inspired to work on recovery efforts because she used to live in Japan in the affected areas. She also has previous experience with Mercy Corps. She lives in Portland, and is back only briefly before she returns to Japan next week.

 

 

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Oregon Legislative in Report


Senate Bill 766 was passed by the Oregon House Thursday. The bill leads up to the designation of about 15 regionally significant industrial areas, allowing for streamline permitting and reviews of proposed development in those areas. The bill assures that industrial projects with the greatest jobs potential are able to get fast and definite determinations for requires state and local land use approvals. The bill now goes to the Governor for his approval.

 
Thursday, the Oregon House voted to continue offering land to small businesses for business development. SB 494 eliminated the sun setting of the access to business Capitol Act of 2010, which reduced restrictions on the Oregon Business Development Fund and the Entrepreneurial Development Loan Funds. The Oregon House news release states that legislators felt that now that the economy is rebounding; it makes sense to continue that successful program to keep the recovery going.  Under the program; loans have been made available to small businesses across the state, and that more than 300 jobs have been created or saved through the program since 2010.
 
 
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Duck President Gets New Guidelines


The state sets new guidelines for the University of Oregon's President. Members of the State Board of Higher Education are not happy that Ducks President Richard Lariviere went directly to state legislators to push for a new funding plan for the University. His new one year contract states he must get board approval for such a plan. The Board also has the power to fire him without cause with just 30 days notice. He must also attend more board meetings. Board President Paul Kelly says the U of O is not a stand alone institution and must play by the rules like every one else.

 

 

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Assisted Suicide Bill Targets Kits


The Oregon House and Senate approve a bill that makes it illegal to assist another person commit suicide.  The bill is targeted at "suicide kits" sold over the Internet. The kits are not provided by doctors, but groups like GLAAD – “Good Life and Dignified Death,” who do not require physician consultation. The proposed law would make the sale of these kits a Class B felony, which would allow local authorities to go after sellers in other states. Some opponents of the legislation worry the bill would interfere with Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, but chief sponsors say there is language in the legislation that protect Oregonians opportunities to seek out doctor-assisted suicide. The bill heads to the Governor for final approval. 

 

 

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Mt. Angel Shooting Still Under investigation


The suspect who was shot by police after a pursuit in Mount Angel is identified as Lloyd Schafer, 38, of Salem. Don Thomsen with the Marion County Sheriffs Office says Schafer is hospitalized at OHSU. The officer who shot Schafer is Steven McDonough, 28.  He and another officer are on leave during the investigation. The Marion County Sheriffs Office has a lot of witnesses to interview about that wild police chase that ended with the suspect being shot. Schafer is expected to recover. Police are not saying if Schafer was armed when he was shot.

 

 

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Wyden Hoping to Protect Cell Phone Users


Oregon Senator Ron Wyden says he wants to protect the privacy of all Americans by requiring police to get a warrant before they can track somebody's cell phone. Wyden's teaming up with a Utah Republican in sponsoring what's dubbed the GPS Act. Wyden's bill would also require companies to get your permission before selling you geo-location information to another company.

 

 

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Congressman Joins Others in Criticism Against Libya Attacks


Oregon Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio says it's about time President Obama comes to Capitol Hill to get authorization for military action against Libya. He says the President should have done it as soon as the attacks began. The U.S. has provided a support role to NATO, and the United Nations, which launched the attacks in support of Libyan rebel forces. The President is supposed to go to Congress within 60 days of taking military action. This Sunday, it'll be 90 days since the attacks on Libya started.

 

 

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Oregon Growth Account Growing


The Oregon Growth Account takes lottery dollars and invests the money in Oregon companies. State Treasurer Ted Wheeler says the companies can come from anywhere in the state. Typically the process to investment begins with a pitch to a board of five, which he chairs. “The OGA has been around since the 90’s; but this year is seeing a big jump in the total payroll for companies it's invested in.” Last year, aggregate payroll was at just over $30 million. This year, it's jumped to $42 million with investments in 80 companies across the state.

 

 

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Merkley Petitions President to End Afghanistan Involvement


Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is urging President Obama to change course in Afghanistan and start bringing troops home. Merkley says Osama Bin Laden is gone, the Al Qaida training camps are eliminated and the Taliban is no longer in power, so it's time to change the mission. He says more than 20 Senators have signed onto the letter he's sending the President.

 

 

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Oregon Humane Society Helps Joplin


The Oregon Humane Society's Technical Animal Rescue Team continues their work after the tornado in Joplin, Missouri. Roberta Cobb is the team leader and says there are a lot of emotional stories. She says so far they've helped to return over 400 pets.  Any animals that can't be reunited with their people will be adopted out.

Some volunteers are staying to help through later this month.

 

 

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Watch for "FBI" Email Scam


Scammers may have reached a new low with their latest email scam. Tony Green with the Oregon Attorney General's Office says: “It looks like its coming from the FBI, and it’s demanding information that can be used by identity thieves to rip you off.” Green says the bogus email threatens arrest if you don't pay $350. Green says government agencies will never email you asking for personal information such as social security numbers or bank accounts.

 

 

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Governor Kitzhaber Signs Ne Legislative District Map


Governor John Kitzhaber signed into law a bipartisan legislative plan to re-draw Oregon's Legislative District lines. Senate President Peter Courtney says the legislature could have given up on the complex project. It's the first time since 1981 that the legislature has managed to move the plan. The new districts will go into effect for the 2013 session. Lawmakers are still working on the Congressional maps.

 

 

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Gas Prices Still Sliding


Gas prices continue to decline. Marie Dodds at the Triple-A says the national average is down 7-cents and Oregon’s average is down 2-cents at $3.84. Diesel in Oregon is down 3-cents at 4-22. Washington's average is 9th highest in the country at $3.88 a gallon; Oregon's average is 10th highest. In Bend, we have an average of about $3.86.

 

 

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Gregoire Won't Run Again


Saying she wants to spend time with her husband and daughters, Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington announced Monday that she is not running for re-election.  She promises to leave a better economy for her successor.  Gregoire was elected in 2004 and again in 2008. She's calling on Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee to run for the Governor's office. Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna has already launched his campaign.

 

 

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His Invention Saves Lots of Gas


A Salem man claims he has designed a car that can drive 700 miles on just five gallons of gas. Mike Hargett's car has a two battery system that includes a gas generator to charge one set of batteries as it drives. It’s small and green with three tires. Hargett hopes to eventually put the technology in vans and RV's and even tractor-trailers The car will be on display at the State Capitol in Salem this morning.

 

 

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Portland Man Arrested for Rape


Portland Police arrest a 19-year-old man after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at gunpoint. The suspect is identified as Isaiah l. Whitmore, who faces charges of first-degree rape and coercion. Authorities say the alleged assault took place at a home Northeast 49th Avenue Saturday night.

 

 

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Man Dies After Falling Out of A Pickup


Columbia County authorities say the driver of a pickup truck has been arrested after a man fell out of the vehicle while it was moving, and died. Sheriff's deputies say Nicholas Kay of Vancouver, Washington, 26, was allegedly driving while impaired when the fatal fall occurred Saturday night near the community of Scappoose.  The name of the victim, a man in his 30's, has not yet been released. Kay faces charges of criminally negligent homicide and DUI. 

 

 

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Searchers Find Wrecked Plane


Two people are confirmed dead by Umatilla County officials after a single-engine plane crashed in Eastern Oregon.  The Bellanca plane took off from Dallesport, Washington on Saturday afternoon with three people on board. The location of that third passenger is still being looked into. Five Civil Air Patrol planes were called in Saturday, along with Umatilla County Search and Rescue spent much of Sunday searching the area south of Pendleton. Officials say the wreckage was found Sunday afternoon about 13 miles south of Ukiah, which is 50 miles south of Pendleton, Oregon. Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration will be on scene today to investigate the cause of that crash.

 

 

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Oregon Senate Leaders Praises Redistricting Committee


Political feuds take a back seat as the Oregon Legislature passes a rare bipartisan agreement that changes boundaries to keep up with population changes. Senate President Peter Courtney gave credit to the Republicans and Democrats on the committee that drew up the plan.  The boundaries are re-drawn every ten years.  But most times, the legislature fails to reach an agreement and the secretary of state has to take over.  State Representative Jason Conger of Bend says his did not back the plan; because it increases the Democrat advantage in his District from 2 ½% to 6%.

 

 

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New Book About Mt. Hood


A new book tells the story of Mt. Hood, including the possible effects of climate change. Author Jon Bell says glaciers on the mountain are shrinking noticeably and that could have a grisly result. “Who knows what’s in the glaciers now. There are a few people that have been lost over the years, and have never been found. There’s a chance that some people might finally be found.”  The book, now in stores and online, is titled "Mt. Hood, A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak."

 

 

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PDX Ready for Summer Onslaught


Portland International Airport is gearing up for a busy summer full of travelers. Steve Johnson with the Port of Portland: “Summer really is the busiest time of the year for us. And we serve about 47,000 on the busiest days, about 42,000 on an average day.” Johnson says getting to the airport about 2 hours before your morning flight will help ease check in.  Additionally, they’re streamlining their baggage screening system which should help speed up check in at all airlines.

 

 

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Portland Attorney Trying to Stop Execution


Gary Haugen is scheduled to die August 16th, the State's first execution in 14 years. A Portland attorney is trying to prevent that. Jeffrey Ellis with the Oregon Capital Resource Center alleges that Haugen should not have been allowed to fire his attorneys during a hearing in Marion County. Ellis says there is evidence that Haugen is incompetent to be executed.

 

 

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Cat in Prineville Diagnosed with Plague


A case of plague has been found in a cat in Prineville. State Veterinarian, Dr. Emilio Debess says while it's rare, it is possible for domestic animals to get the disease from fleas. The cat in this case has been treated and is fine. Plague can be transferred to people through the fleas too. The best course of action for pets is a regular flea treatment. For people insect repellants work fine.

 

 

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Oregon Humane Society Helping Joplin Pets


A team from the Oregon Humane Society is going to Joplin, Missouri to help the animal shelter care for pets following the tornado. David Lytle says the technical animal rescue team is trained to deal with animals that are traumatized and aggressive. They also went to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

 

 

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Stranded Hiker Has Minor Injuries


A rescue was underway this morning for a climber caught in a small slide on Mt. Hood. The climber was stranded about 100 yards west of the Hogsback, a popular climbing route for climbers trying to reach the peak.

"So we were just going to send a person up the mountain to assist carrying this person off the mountain."  Clackamas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Jim Strovink says the woman was alert but has injuries to her back and face. She was with a group of about 12 climbers. May and June are the most popular months for climbing Mt. Hood due to the combination of more reliable weather plus deep snowpack.
 
 
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Ban on Pit Bulls Protested


About 200 dog lovers and about 50 dogs gathered in Vancouver, Washington, yesterday to protest a proposed ban on pit bulls, which is one of a number of restrictions on the breed being considered by the Vancouver City Council.   The protesters lined up along Mill Plain Boulevard, many of them carrying signs to protest the possibility of a ban on pit bulls. The issue has been hotly debated since a nine-year-old local boy was sent to a hospital after being attacked by three pit bulls outside a home on Evergreen Boulevard. The Council plans to discuss proposed restrictions at a work session sometime in August.

 

 

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Portland Police to be investigated


The U.S. Department of Justice will investigate the Portland Police Bureau's use of force patterns and practices. Assistant AG for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Tom Perez says he's particularly interested in recent shootings involving people with mental illness. A number of local leaders, including Mayor Sam Adams, say they welcome the independent review. The review could take a year or longer. The Justice Department pledging to alert the City of problems and opportunities for improvement as they find them. 

 

 

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Oregon Colleges Graduating Record Numbers


Oregon’s public university commencement ceremonies are this weekend. There are more grads than ever before. Enrollment has grown, and more Oregon public university students are grabbing their degrees. Di Saunders with the Oregon University system says there are nearly 18,900 grads this year; but it took many of them a little more than five years to get the job done. Portland State University produced the most graduates this year; more than 5900. Eastern Oregon University has 705.  The schools expect the numbers to grow significantly over the next three to five years as students who returned to school instead of finding work during recession finish their studies.

 

 

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BPA Giving Away Power


The Bonneville Power Administration says they are giving away electricity to other states. Apparently there can be too much of a good thing: “The way the grid works, is that the amount of power generated has to constantly match the amount of power people are using.” And right now, Michael Milstein with the BPA says there is so much water creating energy at Bonneville Dam, they've had to give power away for free to other states: ”It’s certainly within the last few days, in the middle of the night, when we’re trying to find a home for that power.”  Milstein says they have sent power as far away as Southern California and other areas in the southwest.

 

 

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United Telecom Guilty of "Slamming"


Several businesses in Oregon found themselves to be victims of "slamming.” Tony Green in the Oregon Attorney General's Office explains, the practice is illegal within the telecommunications industry. “Under false pretenses, one telephone service provider switches you from the company you have a contract with and puts you on their service plan.” The guilty company in this case, California based United Telecom, has now been banned from doing business in Oregon and must pay fees to the Department of Justice and refund customers who filed complaints.

 

 

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Portland to Pay for Sex Change Operations for City Employees


Portland’s City Council today voted to expand City Employee Benefits to include sex-reassignment surgery.The decision followed mainly favorable testimony from the public; including Jeana Frazzini of Basic Rights Oregon. Opponents said the country's founders never envisioned such an expanded role of government.

But the City Council vote was unanimous, and the decision takes effect immediately.
 
 
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Portland Mayor Rear-Ended by Bicyclist


Portland’s mayor is rear-ended by a bicyclist. Sam Adam's spokesperson, Amy Ruiz says the Mayor was about to turn left at the intersection of 4th and Columbia when it happened: “There was a pedestrian crossing 4th Avenue, westbound. The Mayor stopped to allow that person to pass. As he was stopped, a bicyclist collided with the rear end of the Prius.” Ruiz says the mayor then got out of the car and introduced himself, information was exchanged and there were no significant injuries or damage. “She, I believe may have had a scraped knee, but no injury as she rode her bicycle away from the scene.” Ruiz says there was a scrape on the back of the Prius and an accident report has been filed on the City-owned car.

 

 

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Faith Healing Trail Jury Verdict: Guilty


A Clackamas County jury returns with verdicts of "guilty" against the parents of an Oregon City infant with a growth on her left eye. Timothy and Rebecca Wyland were charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment after being accused of relying on their faith, rather than medicine, to treat the baby. Each of the defendants faces up to five years in prison. The State took custody of the girl last summer and began immediately treating the growth; she's since improved and has been returned to the custody of her parents, who have been giving her regular medication.

 

 

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Blumenaur Wants No Special Treatment for Celebs


Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat, wants to know if taxpayer money was used to provide special treatment - including government escorts and free visits to national historic landmarks during Sarah Palin’s recent bus tour. Blumenauer has asked the National Park Service to report back on the costs of Palin's visits. He says no celebrity should get special treatment.

 

 

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Truckers Are Watched This Week


ODOT's "Roadcheck 2011" is underway. Sally Ridenour with the agency says inspectors are mainly focused on driver logbook violations.  Because drivers are only allowed to spend so much time driving each day; they sometimes won't keep records the way they're supposed to. Drivers are being checked at weigh stations throughout the state through Thursday.  Typically, if they're found in violation they are placed in out of service until they take a proper break or fix another safety violation.

 

 

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Mega Insurance in Hot Water


The State of Oregon has fined the insurance company Mega Life and Health $40,000 for not covering 877 claims from women. Tests including mammograms and pap smears were denied, when Oregon law required them to be paid. Cheryl Martinis, with the Oregon Insurance Division says those tests should be covered,  because they're routine exams for women's health. They learned about the violation after getting a tip from one of the policyholders.

 

 

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Summer Days Dangerous for Teen Drivers


New data from Triple A points out the 10 deadliest days for teen drivers. Marie Dodds says parents need to set house rules about driving. Limit the number of times your child is a passenger and most of all become an effective driving coach. All those ideas can help lower the chances of your teen being in an accident.

 

 

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New Law Would Give Tribal Police Extended Authority


The Oregon Senate approves giving Tribal Police officers some arrest authority off of tribal lands. Eugene Senator Floyd Prozanski says this will not be a cash cow for tribes, because any ticket they issue off tribal lands will be payable to the State of Oregon. Prozanki says tribal police will also have to be certified by the State. Thise opposed say it gives an unfair advantage to Tribal Police; that they will have arrest power inside tribal ands and without, but other law enforcement will not have the same power. The bill now moves to the House.

 

 

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Visitors to Devastated Japan Return with Harrowing Stories


Kate O'Berg is talking about her visit to Minami Soma, Japan. She said she was overwhelmed by the devastation she saw.  It's just one of the towns wiped out and isolated after the tsunami and nuclear disaster in March. Kate and her friend, Trina have just returned along with others on the Flight of Friendship goodwill mission. As Pendleton residents, their goal was to visit their sister city located near the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. They weren't worried about radiation. About 20,000 people are still living in the town of Minami Soma.

 

 

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Gas Prices Still Falling


Gas prices continue to fall. Oregon's average is down 3¢ to $3.86. Triple-A's Marie Dodds says diesel prices are also down. Prices should continue to fall for two main reasons; weakness in the economy means lower future demand, and OPEC is considering an increase in crude oil production which would lower prices by increasing supply. Bend is falling in with the state average of $3.86.

 

 

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Is the Economy Getting Ready to Double Dip?


Increasing signs that the economic recovery is losing strength has some economics worried about a double dip recession. Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer says Congress has been sitting on a transportation bill for a year and a half,  that would put thousands of people in the construction industry back to work. Republicans have opposed the bill because of the cost. Blumenauer says investing in the nation's infrastructure is the fastest way to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

 

 

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Seal Hazing to Increase


The Oregon House unanimously approves a bill to increase hazing of sea lions at Willamette Falls. Gladstone Representative Dave Hunt says they're more than a nuisance and are endangering fishermen. The bill now heads to the Senate. If approved and signed by the Governor, hazing would increase to seven days a week during the peak fishing season.

 

 

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Over 100 Firefighters Fighting Fires in Arizona


Firefighters from Oregon are joining the attack on the massive wildfires burning in Arizona.  Jerri Mills of the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center says, over 100 Oregon firefighters are on the Arizona lines because fire season has yet to start up here. The Oregon firefighters are split between three Arizona fires that are putting up smoke over a wide area of the southwest.

 

 

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Salem Man Accidently Torches His House


A Salem man is cited for using a propane torch to clear morning glory plants from his yard and instead catching his home on fire. Police say they were called to the Salem home yesterday afternoon after a man accidently started the fire that quickly spread to larger bushes and then a nearby house.  "Sounds like he almost wandered off; didn't realize that the arborvitaes went up. Because the neighbors said they saw it hit the arborvitaes, and they were tinder and they were dry and within a minute they were just fully engulfed.” The neighbors rescued an elderly resident who was home at the time. The elderly man was uninjured.

 

 

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Doctors Not Worried About Euro E-Coli


Oregon health officials say the E-Coli outbreak in Europe that has killed 22 people is similar to outbreaks here in the U.S. Doctor William Keen says the bacteria are stronger and affecting more people, but he's not worried about it spreading here. It generally does not easily spread from person to person.  You get it by eating contaminated vegetables. You can avoid it be cooking vegetables.

 

 

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"Cool School" Initiative Passes


Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is praising Friday's passage of the Cool Schools Initiative by the legislative Joint Ways and Means Committee.  House Bill 2960 will expand financing for energy efficiency upgrades to public schools across the state. Kitzhaber is pushing the full Legislature to pass the bill so upgrades can start this summer, putting people back to work.

 

 

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Researchers Discover Cancer Gene


Researchers at OHSU have discovered a gene that may give some kidney cancer patients more treatment options. The gene is the key to kidney cancer growth and its discovery might help patients who could use drugs already approved by the FDA to block the gene. Kidney cancer strikes 58,000 Americans each year and causes 13,000 deaths.

 

 

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Tuition Increases for Next School Year


The Oregon Board of Higher Education approved tuition increases Friday averaging 7.2% for the 2011-2012 school year. OSU-Cascades has the smallest increase, of 5.5% overall, and continues to have the lowest overall tuition and fees, at $6,459 for a resident undergraduate taking 15 credit hours. Tuition at the University of Oregon is set to jump more than 7.5% next year, pushing tuition and fees for full-time resident students to more than $8900 a year. The new tuition figure represents an increase of 132% since 2000.

 

 

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Kyron Horman Case to Change Focus


It’s been a year since Kyron Horman went missing from Skyline School. The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office is changing the investigation so that it has more of a forensic approach; reviewing evidence, documents and interviews.  Former FBI Agent Brad Garrett says finding evidence could come down to a mistaken comment.  Garrett says this is typically the next step in this type of investigation.  Detectives will review the 68 binders full of information and the 3500 interviews conducted over the last year.

 

 

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Oregon Homeowners Hope to Get Mortgage Help


The Oregon Legislature is considering several bills to provide greater oversight of the mortgage industry. Foreclosure counselor Laura Robison says many lenders are not notifying homeowners they're in danger of defaulting on their loan. The bills are still stuck in committee and have not made it to either the House or Senate floor.

 

 

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Protests at Insurance Hearing


Oregon State Public Interest Research Group Citizens Lobby (OSPIRG) took nearly an hour Thursday challenging the Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield request for a 22 percent rate hike on premiums for individual members. But the most heartfelt testimony came from those members who say the costs are just getting  too expensive. The State could make a decision on the request later this month.

 

 

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Kyron Horman Disappears One year Ago Saturday


One year since the disappearance of Kyron Horman, his father says he's as committed as ever to finding his son. Kaine Horman says it's a reason to get up every morning, and he’s never given up hop that Kyron will be found alive. Horman says it's essential to keep up public awareness while authorities continue running down every tip and clue.

 

 

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Tuition Hikes Frustrate Students


Tuition at most of Oregon’s public universities will increase by more than 7% next year. Students at Portland State are frustrated by of news of a possible 9% hike. To many, it simply means more debt. The proposed hikes vary, with Western Oregon University proposing the smallest increase of just over 5%.

 

 

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Faith Healing Trial


At the Oregon City faith healing trial, a relative of Tim and Rebecca Wyland testifies that Alayna Wyland was not in pain when paramedics examined her at the home, and that she was barely examined. Garrett Crone, brother in law of Tim Wyland, says that's why he was shocked she was taken into state custody. The Wylands are standing trial on criminal mistreatment charges for not taking Alayna to the doctor.

 

 

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High Fat Diet Bad for Fetuses


A new study from Oregon Health Sciences University shows there's a dramatic increase in the risk of stillbirth for mom's eating a high-fat diet. Doctor Antonio Frias says fat reduces the blood flow in the placenta, which is dangerous to the fetus. The risk of stillbirth is 35% higher. The study was conducted at the OHSU Primate Research Center and published in the Journal of Endocrinology.

 

 

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PSU Wants to Help Japanese Scholars


Portland State University makes a big announcement overseas. They've created a fund for Japanese students who've been affected by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. The tuition discount comes out to $4500 to $6000 a year. Chief Diversity Officer, Jilma Meneses announced the fund as part of the Flight of Friendship to Japan. The goodwill trip includes representatives from throughout Portland, Vancouver and beyond who are visiting to assist with disaster recovery and promote tourism.

 

 

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Nu Shooz in Japan


The Nu Shooz, the band know for the song "I Can't Wait," are part of a group of Portlanders who've traveled to Japan to volunteer in the disaster zone. They're bringing their gift of music to the group and the victims. Lead singer Valerie Day says it's been a unique experience so far.  They'll join a smaller group next at a shelter in Sendai and perform for the victims whenever it feels right.  When Portland-based Nu Shooz were asked to be musical ambassadors on the Flight of Friendship goodwill mission to the disaster areas in Japan, they said "yes" and they're impressed by the diverse group that's joined the effort. John Smith adds that they're not sure if they'll perform for tsunami survivors, but they're fine with just helping to pass out supplies. They'll work in a shelter in Sendai, Japan for the next couple of days.

 

 

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Spring Is Not A Record Setter


Spring has been cold and wet but Kathie Dello at the Oregon Climate Service says it's not a record setter. While it rained more in April than January, it was only the second wettest spring on record with 14.39 inches. It missed tying the record from 1997 by just a few raindrops.   The cold and wet spring was caused by La Nina conditions in the Pacific, and it doesn't mean the summer will be the same. Current long range forecasts predict the summer might be slightly drier than normal.

 

 

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Black Bear Visits Tualatin School


A black bear forced Tualatin Elementary School to close for the day.  Police used sirens in an attempt to keep the bear inside the school's fence. Jackie Kohler had dropped her son off at school but stuck around in the cafeteria to catch the action and said she was the most fascinated by the bears’ antics.  The bear was tranquilized and fell asleep in a tree in the backyard of a home. Fire crews used ropes to lower it to the ground. It’ll be taken to a remote location and released.

 

 

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Portland Mayor Wants to Include Controversail Benefits for Employees


There’s a controversy brewing in Portland.  Portland Mayor Sam Adams is calling for City benefits to include coverage for sex-reassignment surgery, saying it's "fair and common sense."  If the City Council agrees with Adams when it votes on the issue next week, Portland will become the first city in Oregon to offer coverage for sex-change operations. Multnomah County enacted a similar policy last year. Adams says the cost to the City each year would be only about $32,000 through its self-insured City Core Fund.

 

 

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Oregon Legislature Considers Corrections Funding


A group of advocates for crime victims are asking the Oregon Legislature for a shift in funding, spending less on incarceration and more on services designed to protect victims and rehabilitate criminals. Bob Robison, a former victims services manager for Multnomah County says Oregon is becoming a leader in reducing recidivism.   Lawmakers are considering a number of corrections and public safety budget this week in Ways and Means.

 

 

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Memorial Day Proves to Be A Big –DUII Holiday Again


Over the Memorial Day weekend, Oregon State Police made more DUI arrests than last year. And the number of fatal crashes was also down, but Lieutenant Gregg Hastings says three is still too many. There was a 20%  increase in DUII arrests, and Hastings says state police will remain out in force as part of the Three Flags Safety campaign.

 

 

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Faith Healing Trial Continues


At the faith healing trial in Oregon City, a state worker testifies he removed Alayna Wyland from the home because he didn't believe the parents would treat a huge growth that threatened to blind their daughter.  The defense questioned Department of Health Services worker John Faber about why he took the infant to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center when a team of eye specialists was available at OHSU. Timothy and Rebecca Wyland are on trial on criminal mistreatment charges.

 

 

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Gas Prices Still Sliding Downward...Slowly


Gas prices in Oregon are down nearly 4-cents a gallon to $3.89. Marie Dodds, with Triple-A says prices should continue to fall. Diesel declined a penny over the last week to $4.27.   Alaska still has the highest price for a gallon of gas; Washington State is 9th, and Oregon's price is 11th highest. Locally, Bend's gas prices are around $3.89 this week.

 

 

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