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Regional News Archives for 2011-08


Time For Flu Shots


Usually flu strains change from year to year but Loraine Duncan with the Oregon Health Department says: not this year, because flu shots are only effective for one year. And she says you can get the shot now since health care providers and pharmacies have a new supply of vaccine.

 

 

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Driver Could Face Manslaughter Charges for Zupan's Death


The driver responsible for the fatal motorcycle accident in Portland killing the founder of a Portland grocery store could face manslaughter charges. Monday night's crash killed John Zupan, 66, who started Zupan’s Markets in Portland. The driver is already facing drunk driving charges, reckless driving and assault in the second degree. He could also face a charge of manslaughter in the first degree.

 

 

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West Nile Virus Appears in Eastern Oregon Mosquitoes


West Nile virus detected in some eastern Oregon mosquitoes.  You might want good bug repellant for your weekend camping trip. Oregon Public Health regularly tests mosquitoes for West Nile virus, and some of the little buggers have tested positive in Malheur County. State Vet Doctor Emilio Debess says it's nothing critical, since we're nearing the end of the summer, but he wanted to warn outdoor adventurers. Debess says “Deet” repellant is effective, but so are natural repellants like lemon oil and eucalyptus. Visit the Oregon Public Health website for more.

 

 

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John Zupan Dies


John Zupan, 68, has died from injuries he suffered Monday night in a crash on Marine Drive. He founded Zupan's Markets in Portland. Tom Gilpatrick, with the Food Industry Leadership Center at PSU says Zupan worked in the grocery business all of his life. Zupan's Markets created a niche with fresh and local food. 

He was the type of grocer who would walk through his stores and knew his customers.   The driver who crashed into his motorcycle faces drunk driving and other charges.

 

 

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Historic Building Threatened by Mt. Hood Fire


The fight continues against several lightning sparked fires in Oregon and Washington. One fire near Mt. Hood is threatening the historic Cloud Cap Inn. They wrapped the inn with the typical fire resistant material that looks like aluminum foil. Mark Morrow, with the Northwest Coordination Center says the largest fire is burning on the Warm Springs Reservation. That has forced the closure of four campgrounds. Section one of the Deschutes River is closed to rafting. Sections 2 and 3 are still open.

 

 

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Lottery 2 Go?


The Oregon Lottery is developing a new website with new ways to play. "The Or-Cade" dot com will go live in late September and be tied in with a new scratcher called "Icicle Climb" that will be released at the same time. The Lottery's Chuck Baumann explains that losing tickets can be entered into a drawing to win $10,000. He says they're also going mobile, with "Keno To Go." players can buy a game ticket for a future drawing at a retail location, and then watch the drawing on their mobile device. Keno to go will also start in September. And the Lottery is already gearing up for another Thanksgiving raffle. Chuck Baumann says tickets will go on sale the first weekend in October. The top prize is a million dollars, with some $20,000 and $100 prizes. Baumann says they expect tickets to go fast as there are only 250,000 of them.

 

 

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Weekly Gas Prices


Gas prices are up slightly this week. Nationally, gas increased 4-cents a gallon to $3.61 and prices in Oregon increased 3-cents to $3.75. Triple-A's Marie Dodds says it's because of Hurricane Irene. The price increases are expected to be temporary and should continue slow declines after the Labor Day weekend.  The average price this week in Bend is about $3.96 for a gallon of regular.

 

 

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Numbers Drop in State Tests


Oregon educators are explaining a big drop in the number of elementary and middle school students who are passing the State's math test.  Education Department spokeswoman Crystal Greene says it's because the benchmarks were raised. Benchmarks are about to be raised in reading and science as well. That's happening while budget cuts are affecting schools.  Greene says administrators are having to hone in on the most effective way to spend what dollars they have.

 

 

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Better Pay Your Back Taxes Soon!


After October first, the State of Oregon will stop paying collection fees on back taxes. Instead, taxpayers who owe the money will get that amount added to the bill. Rosemary Hardin, with the Department of Revenue says it can be a lot of money. On $100, that's an additional $67 in fees. 200,000 Oregonians owe back taxes. You can avoid the extra costs by paying your taxes by October first.

 

 

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Well Fargo Customers Getting Hit by Scammers


Another phishing scheme reported to the Oregon Attorney General's Office. This one comes in the form of phone calls to Wells Fargo customers; the callers trying to coax people into revealing private financial information that can help the scammers steal your identity. Tony Green in the AG's office says people who receive these calls should report them to the Customer Protection Unit of the Attorney General's Office. Green says a bank will never call you, asking  for private information over the phone.

 

 

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Ill Circo?


The Oregon State Fair has a new piece of flair: “Ill Circo”.   Maybe quilts and cakes, pigs and cows aren't your thing. Chris Havel with State Parks and Rec says Ill Circo is the name of the troop and the show is called “Vaggio. Think Cirque du Soleil, but on a smaller scale. It’s a tremendous hour full of acrobatics and human skill all wrapped around music and story. The show cost $5 with admissions to the fair which varies depending on age, from free to 11 dollars.

 

 

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Merkley Hoping to Get Funds for K-12 Education


U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley wants to see more robotics competitions and summer science camps nationwide. He visited Hillsboro High School, a hub for those activities, to announce his plan to ask for a secured $500-million for those programs when the "No Child Left Behind Act" is re-written later this year. Grants would be evenly divided among the states based on population. In Oregon, Merkley says: “That will boost science, engineering, technology and mathematics programs in the State and that’s enough to make a real impact.” Merkley says, as a nation, we must improve education in science and engineering if we hope to remain competitive with other countries.

 

 

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Disabled Vets Compete in Hood to Coast Race


Members of a team participating in today and Saturday’s Hood-to-Coast relay has had to overcome big disabilities to compete, injuries they received in combat. "Team War-Fighter Sports" includes vets who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The team is part of a program offered by Disabled Sports USA and is backed by "The Standard." Vets do not pay to participate and receive financial support while they train.

 

 

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State Revenue Forecast Not Great


Oregon may have to tighten its belt even more, now that economists say tax revenue will be about $200-million less than budgeted.  State Economist Mark McMullen says the uncertain national economy is having an effect in Oregon. The drop in revenue is discouraging news for Oregon schools, which are first in line for any unbudgeted dollars when the Legislature returns in February.

 

 

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Special Team Participates in Hood to Coast


Members of one team running in today’s Hood-to-Coast Relay already have medals: Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars. They are members of "Team War-Fighter Sports;" vets who have been seriously injured in combat but are using sports to overcome their injuries and stay motivated.  Captain Chip Sell of Vancouver is running the event and says training has helped him reconnect with his wife and daughter.  Captain Sell and his teammates received special training to overcome those injuries through Disabled Sports USA. The Hood to Coast Team sponsored by The Standard.

 

 

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State Fire Report


Thunderstorms that moved from southern Oregon over Central Oregon had 9000 lightning strikes. Mark Morrow, with the Interagency coordination center, says now they're counting new fires. They're watching a group of about 30 new fires totaling about 1000 acres on the Warm Springs Reservation,  to see whether they get large enough to assign fire fighters. The largest fire burning in regon is near Clarno in north Central Oregon. It has now burned 15,000 acres of brush and sage.

 

 

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Mosque Bomber Arrested


Long considered a suspect, Cody Crawford, 24, is now facing federal hate crimes and arson charges in connection with last November’s firebombing of a Corvallis mosque. U.S. Attorney for Oregon Dwight Holton says Crawford was arrested at a home in Monmouth. He lived just down the street from the mosque at the time of the attack. He also reportedly posted anti-Muslim comments about the Portland tree bombing suspect on Facebook the day of the attack.

 

 

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Massive Pot Grow Found in Northeast Oregon


Another massive marijuana grow has been found in northeast Oregon. More than 10,000 plants were growing in a stand of old growth trees. They were valued at $25-million. State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings says this time of year hunters need to be careful and back out if they come across a grow. Two men were arrested. Police from several agencies were needed to pull all of the plants out of the ground.

 

 

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State Employees Agree to Contract


The state's largest public-employee union votes to ratify a new two-year contract, under which they'll pay a portion of their medical insurance costs for the first time. The contract, agreed to by the Service Employees International Union Local 503, also requires ten to 14 unpaid furlough days for employees over the next two years. Union leaders say 77% of rank and file members voted in favor of the contract.

 

 

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New Crosswalk Law Now in Effect


Governor John Kitzhaber has signed a bill that clarifies Oregon’s crosswalk law. ODOT's Shelly Snow says drivers need to stop when a pedestrian moves into the crosswalk. Snow says you always need to make sure the pedestrian is at least six-feet into the next lane before driving past the crosswalk. The new law takes effect immediately.

 

 

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Schools Must Offer Full-Day Kindergarten


Full day kindergarten is coming to Oregon schools. Governor Kitzhaber signed a bill that requires public schools to offer the option by 2015. State Senator Mark Hass says studies show it makes a significant difference. Three-quarters of kids who can't read by the third grade have a much higher failure rate. Hass says the program will pay for itself with lower costs for drug and alcohol treatment and lower rates of crime and incarceration.

 

 

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Dangerous Dry Lightning Forecasted This Week


Fire crews spread across Oregon are ready for predicted dry lightning and lots of new fire starts. Jeree Mills at the Northwest Coordination Center says everyone, even crews, has to be careful. Mills says none of the fires we've had to date have been caused by lightning, so this would be the first major round for our very late fire season.

 

 

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Problems at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution


An inmate was shot at the Eastern Oregon Prison. It follows a fatal beating earlier this year. The Oregon Department of Corrections is just releasing information on the fatal beating of an inmate May 21st. Chris Lange, 54, was attacked and killed in the recreation yard of the Snake River Correctional Institution near Ontario. A murder charges is expected to be filed against an inmate. Then last Thursday; a tower guard shot Inmate Kevin Jackson, 21, when firing a warning round to break up a fight in the recreation yard. Jackson’s condition hasn't been released.

 

 

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AAA Expects Lighter Air Travel This Labor Day


In AAA’s Pacific Region, they expect 4-million people to hit the road this Labor Day weekend. Marie Dodds says dollars spent and distance driven will be about the same this year as last. Overall, because of a drop in airline travel, AAA expects to see fewer travelers this Labor Day.

 

 

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Solar Highway Near Wilsonville


At $10-million and nearly 7,000 solar panels, it's by far the largest solar highway project in the country.  It's all happening at the Baldock Rest Area on I-5 just south of Wilsonville. Portland General Electric CEO Jim Piro says part of the project cost is offset by BETSY tax credits and other grants. It's expected to go online in January and be able to completely power the rest area with solar power.

 

 

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Happy Birthday Samudra!


Hundreds of zoo visitors sign a super-sized birthday card for Samudra, an Asian elephant born at the Oregon Zoo three years ago. Elephant habitat's Director Mike Keele says Sam is a ton-and-a-half of fun for zoo visitors and staff, but not always for his mom, Rose-Tu, and his aunts. Keele says Samudra was 260 pounds at birthday and is now about 3,000 pounds. He gains three pounds a day and is expected to reach full-size between the ages of 25 and 30; then weighing in around 14,000 pounds.

 

 

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Davy Crockett To BE Removed Thursday


The final piece of the derelict barge Davy Crockett will be removed from the Columbia River on Thursday. Shawn Eggert, with the Coast Guard, says a large piece of metal remains on the river bottom. The 431-foot former World War II Liberty Ship sank in the Columbia east of Vancouver last January. Nearly $19-million has been spent cutting it apart and sending the metal away for recycling. The money comes from oil companies that pay into a recovery fund for oil spills.

 

 

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Man Fakes Police Car to Move Through Traffic


The Oregon State Police are looking for anyone who witnessed this odd event on Friday night near Hillsboro. Oregon State Police arrested a Gresham-area man Friday night on several charges as he used a vehicle equipped with a full roof light bar, strobe lighting and siren to move through post-Hillsboro Air Show traffic. 

The blue 1999 Ford Ranger pickup drove northbound through a red light at the intersection of Cornelius Pass Road and Cornell Road where at least two vehicles swerved to avoid a collision with the pickup. A trooper stopped the vehicle and identified the driver as Timothy Benz, 30. Benz said he works for a private flagging and traffic safety company and was enroute to traffic crashes on Portland-area bridges. There were no such crashes.   If you have any information about this OSP would like to talk with you. Benz was cited for Reckless Driving and two counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person.  He was also lodged in the Washington County Jail for Probation Violation after OSP advised his probation officer of the circumstances related to the arrest.

 

 

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A Drink A day Can Keep Dementia Away - Maybe


Being a social drinker can apparently cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Loyola University scientists say moderate drinkers are less likely to be stricken with dementia and cognitive impairment than those who abstain. Researchers say the findings about drinking and Alzheimer’s are similar to what scientists have learned about moderate drinking and some coronary conditions. Moderate drinking is defined as a drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. The study warns that guzzling three to five drinks a day was associated with a higher chance of dementia.

 

 

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Defazio Hears from Angry Voters


Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio is midway through a series of town hall meetings during the August recess, and he says voters are very unhappy, confused, frustrated and anxious. Democrat DeFazio says President Obama's re-election is in doubt, but only if Republicans come up with a middle-of-the-road nominee.

 

 

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NOAA TO dedicate Newport Building Today


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Port of Newport are holding a ceremony on today to dedicate the new NOAA Marine Operations Center-Pacific facility in Newport, Oregon. They are also hosting an open house at the facility today and tomorrow that is free and open to the public.

 

 

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Computers to Program Football Plays?


Computer scientists at Oregon State University have just completed a new study in artificial intelligence. They wanted to get a computer to watch and learn something visually, so they used videos of Beaver football. Then Dr. Alan Fern tested the results, making the computer play a football video game. Dr. Fern hopes to one day see an application developed that would help coaches analyze video and develop strategy.

 

 

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Power Grids Could Get More Energy


The Bonneville Power Administration is upgrading the Oregon -California intertie. That'll enable more energy-sharing between the regions, and ease the bottlenecks that shut down the wind farms earlier this year. Bonneville Power's Mike Hansen says power sales to California keep northwest electric rates lower.

 

 

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Milwaukie 12 year Olds Charged with Arson


Two boys, both 12-years-old, have been charged with the arson that destroyed the play structure at Bilquist Elementary School in Milwaukie. Sheriff's Sergeant James Rhodes says the public's help was key to identifying the boys. Both boys had been students at the school. The play structure was worth $40,000.

They're charged with felony arson and will be tried in juvenile court.
 
 
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Condit Dam to Be Removed


Work has begun on the difficult task of removing the Condit Dam on the White Salmon River. It's part of a long term effort by utility companies, tribes and federal agencies to improve salmon and steelhead habitat in the region. Tom Gauntt with PacifiCorp says, right now, water is being drawn down at Northwestern Lake, the 92-acre reservoir behind the dam. Later, the dam will be demolished. Gauntt says it will take three to five years to restore the white Salmon River back to a state that resembles its original form.

 

 

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Portland Cop Arrested for DUII


A Portland Police officer was arrested for drunk driving. Tillamook County authorities say a Portland Police officer faces a charge of DUII after being suspected of driving drunk while off duty. Portland Police say Officer Sean Sothern, who's been with the police bureau for eleven years, is free after posting bail. Officials say he has been taken off street duty and has been placed in the telephone report unit. Sothern is also charged with attempting to elude and reckless endangerment.

 

 

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Looking for Love? Try Portland


It’s an interesting distinction for Portland. An online dating website has released results of a poll that ranks Portland as the nation's "Most Promiscuous City."   Okcupid.com has listed the ten cities most interested in casual sex, and Portland heads that list. According to the Huffington Post, the dating website based its rankings on the percentage of users in each city who list "casual sex" among what they seek in a relationship.  Seattle ranks second on the list.

 

 

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Oregon Will Soon Have Lots of EV Stations


The Oregon Department of Transportation has chosen a California company to install and maintain a series of electric vehicle charging stations in the northwest portion of the State.  Art James is with ODOT: “This particular project is one of three going on concurrently in Oregon. And the latest announcement is about the funding we got comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation.” The $2million grant will build 22 charging stations within the next year that will spread up and down the Oregon coast and out into the gorge.  The other two projects cover the Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon.

 

 

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Solar Schools?


Oregon has started construction of three solar power projects on university campuses that will eventually generate nearly 5-megawatts of electricity.  Bob Simonton, with the Oregon University system, says because it's an outside company that's building the system.  It won't cost the schools anything to build.  The company is using a state tax credit that covers about half of the cost.  The solar panels will be built at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon State in Corvallis and Eastern Oregon University.

 

 

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DMV Hits Record


A new record for the Oregon DMV has more and more people renew their car tags online. David House with DMV says not only does it save a stamp and time for you; it also benefits taxpayers because it's more costly and time consuming to help someone renew their tabs in person.

 

 

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OSP Explains Duck Pot Stop


The Oregon State Police are being asked to explain why no one was arrested June 12th when Oregon football player Cliff Harris was stopped doing 118 miles an hour. It was 4 a.m. and though the officer was unsure if Harris or any of the other 3 men in the car, including Quarterback Darron Thomas had been smoking marijuana. No one was arrested. Lieutenant Gregg Hastings explains one problem the officer faced: “He possibly would have moved into where he would have searched the car, but there wasn’t permanent long term back up that he had there.” Before citing Harris he did make him and a second man take field sobriety tests. Both tested sober and the second man was told to drive the car because Harris does not have a license.

 

 

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Portland Harbor Eligible for 'Superfund' Help


The feds listed the Portland Harbor as eligible for a Superfund cleanup in 2000. 11 years later, not much has happened. “Over $200-million has been spent in the “study” phase, with no actual clean-up.” Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer says the challenge is that most of the polluters no longer even own the property. He says realistically to clean it up, ratepayers would have to pick up some of the tab.

 

 

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Gresham Baby Endangered


An investigation is underway into a newborn baby who was born without medical care in Gresham and nearly died.  Police Officer Adam Baker says a friend of the mother called police to check on the child, and found the newborn in distress. The mother is developmentally disabled and a former drug user. This is her 10th child. 

Her other 9 children were removed by the State. Detectives are trying to determine what happened and whether any charged should be filed.

 

 

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Education Achievement Gap


Years of efforts to close the achievement gap between white and minority students in Oregon are not yet showing the desired results.  That's one conclusion from the newest batch of ACT test scores. The Oregon Department of Education's Crystal Greene says black, Hispanic and Native American students lagged behind Asians and whites in all subjects in the latest ACT's. The state's counting on more rigorous graduation requirements to help close the gap.

 

 

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State Lawmaker to Work for Governor


East Portland state lawmaker Ben Cannon will resign from his post, accepting a new job with Governor Kitzhaber's administration. He will work as the Governor's new Education Policy Advisor. Representative Cannon says it will be hard to leave his legislative work. He says the Governor’s efforts to  improve the government and finance of our education system are really promising. Cannon,  a Democrat and a teacher says there are many talented people in District 46. He expects voters will have many good options for his replacement.

 

 

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Veterans Benefits May Get Budget Hit


Former Vancouver Mayor and Retired Army Colonel Rroyce Pollard says veterans should not have their benefits cut to help cut the nation's debt.  Pollard attended a listening session at Fort Vancouver hosted by U.S. Senator Patty Murray. Murray,  a member of the super 12 deficit committee, vows to protect veterans benefits.

 

 

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Gaston Fire Injures Three


In state news: authorities say three firefighters were injured in an explosion last night at the Stimson Lumber Company Mill in Gaston.  Firefighters were battling a blaze at the complex on southwest Scoggins Valley Road when an explosion occurred at the top of one of the buildings. Authorities say the injured firefighters were transported to hospitals for treatment of injuries not considered life threatening. The causes of the fire and the explosion haven't been determined.   

 

 

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Columbia River Crossing Project Has Big Challenge


Planners of the Columbia River Crossing Project face two challenges: less federal funding and fewer dollars from tolls. CRC Director Nancy Boyd says the Interstate Bridge needs to be replaced, because there's currently 4 to 6 hours of congestion daily on I-5. Boyd says with funding split between federal, state and tolling sources, they have flexibility to deal with a shortfall.

 

 

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Teen Dies After Falling From Rocket Butte


A Portland teenager has died after a big tumble down Rocky Butte. Austin Fisher, 16, died at Legacy Emanuel Hospital where they were trying to treat his critical injuries sustained in the fall, officials said. The boy fell an estimated 80 feet off a cliff on the east side of the butte. “Another by passer found the young gentlemen who was around 16 years old, unconscious and then called 911. When fire crews transported him out as fast as they could. Paul Corah with Portland Fire said the boy was goofing around with his buddies when he fell. This appears to be an accident he says.  Corah adds this was the third fall this year from Rocky Butte. Last June, a 19-year-old woman was rescued after she fell while hiking. And back in May, a climber from Austria fell about 50 feet and died.

 

 

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Man Dies in Drowning Accident


A fun day of swimming in the Longview area ends in tragedy. Alejandro Vicente Lopez, 30,died after rescuing his daughter and another child from the Columbia River at Willow Grove Park. Nobody was wearing a life jacket. Charlie Rosensweig with the Cowlitz County Sheriffs Office says the park is typically used for fishing more than swimming. 

 

 

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Mid Columbia Medical in Hot Water


The Mid-Columbia Medical Center is being sued by one of the seven victims of sexual abuse by a doctor who practiced at the facility in the Dalles. Attorney Mark McDougal says his client made a complaint to the Medical Center after the anesthesiologist forced her to touch him sexually during a surgical procedure. A Medical Center administrator says an internal investigation was completed, but they never spoke with the victim.  The lawsuit seeks $4-million in damages.  Fields is in jail, facing multiple charges including first-degree rape.

 

 

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Nation's First Electric Avenue is in Portland


The nation's first Electric Avenue is now open near Portland State University. PSU President Wim Weiwel says it includes seven electric charging stations. Several EV's were on display at the grand opening including the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Roadster. The charging will be free although you must still pay for parking.

 

 

 
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Unemployment Numbers Stalled


Oregon’s unemployment rate is stalled at 9.5%, but there may be encouraging signs in private industry. Currently there are almost 190,000 unemployed Oregonians looking for work. Employment economist Nick Belieciks says the unemployment rate's a full point lower than it was a year ago. But he says the effects of the debt ceiling debate and the market turmoil has yet to be felt in Oregon.

 

 

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Small Biz Loan Program Gets Boost


Oregon’s small business loan program is getting a $16-million boost from the federal government. Tim Raphael, in the Governor's office, says this is important to businesses that can't get loans. The one condition of the federal money is that it be increased tenfold; turning $16 million into $165 million. They do that by combining the federal money with private lending. 

 

 

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Weak Dollar Has an Up Side


As the dollar weakens; its turning out to be good news for many Oregon companies.  State Economist Tom Potiowsky says Oregon's a pretty big player in the export market. “There really is quite a cross the gamut of Oregon industries that have their products go overseas, be it agricultural. Log exports are very strong right now and of course the Intels, Nike, Precision Cast Parts, a whole range of different firms operate overseas." Basically he says when the dollar goes down in value, it’s as though the price of our products also drops. Which means demands goes up and  exports increase.  In fact he says 2010 was the second best year ever for Oregon exports.

 

 

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The Beavers Also Have Problems


The Oregon Ducks football team has made recent headlines for off the field problems. This time it's the Beavers turn. Beavers Coach Mike Riley says four freshman, defensive tackle Joe Lopez, safety Will Storey, and tight ends Connor Hamlett, and Tyler Perry will all be suspended at least one game for underage drinking. Corvallis Police says they responded to a noise complaint Saturday night at a townhouse shared by three of the players.   But they allegedly locked the door shut off the lights and turned off the stereo when officers arrived. After getting a search warrant they forced their way in and found 40 people inside. Lopez, Hamlett and Story also face 36 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.

 

 

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Oregon Sailor Dies


The family of a 19 year old Oregon sailor killed in Afghanistan talks about the loss. Riley Gallenger Long had only been in Afghanistan for 27 days and had been helping an injured marine when he was killed. “I truly believe that he was meant to go over there to try to help other people. Whether it was a wounded soldier or kids on the streets, that’s what he wanted to do” His mother, Susan Blanchard says as much as it hurts that his son is gone, there are no regrets. Gallenger Long was a Navy Corpsman who graduated from Forest Grove High School last year. He was the 148th serviceman from Oregon or Southwest Washington to die in the Mideast wars. A funeral service will be held at the Forest Grove Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and burial will take place at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

 

 

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Gas Prices Edging Down


Despite the gyrations on Wall Street last week, gas prices are down. The national average dropped a nickel and Oregon’s average is down two-cents to $3.73 a gallon. Triple A's Marie Dodds says crude oil remains below $90 a barrel. Diesel in Oregon is below $4.00 a gallon for the first time in weeks at $3.99 a gallon. 

Dodds says prices should continue to slowly decline as long as there isn't an outside factor, such as a storm or political unrest in the Middle East that affects the oil supply.

 

 

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Same Sex Marriage Proponents Getting Active Again


Battle cries are being heard over same-sex marriage in Oregon. Gay rights group say they're aiming for a vote next year on legalizing it; but opponents say voters overwhelmingly put a ban in the constitution seven years ago. Teresa Lucas of the Oregon Family Council says the Oregon voice has already been heard, and a small group of people who didn’t like the last outcome wants to change things for everyone. The gay rights group Basic Rights Oregon plans to begin collecting signatures in October for a ballot measure in the 2012 election.

 

 

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Attempted Kidnapping Foiled


In Portland: family members heard their daughter screaming in the middle of the night and were able to stop an attempted kidnapping. The 17 year old girl woke up to an intruder inside her bedroom in the middle of the night, early Sunday. He put his hand over her mouth but she was able to break free and scream for help. Police believe the intruder stood on an ottoman outside the apartment and climbed through the girl's window. The family has only been in the United States for about three years.

 

 

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Oregon State Fair Hiring


The help wanted sign is out at the Oregon State Fair. Events Manager Steven Bledsoe says they have over a thousand temporary jobs available cooking corn dogs, cleaning the grounds, and running commercial booths. The big hiring push is today at the Oregon Employment trailer on the fairgrounds. The Fair begins in about two weeks.

 

 

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Toxic Plant Returning to Oregon


The plant Tansy Ragwort is making a comeback in Oregon because of the La Nina weather pattern. The plant is fatal to cattle that eat it. Entomologist Eric Coombs says they battle it naturally, with insects such as the flea beetle and cinnabar moth, but it takes time. Tansy Ragwort is part of the sunflower family and was introduced in Oregon in the 1920's. Within three decades it became a major problem, killing thousands of cattle and horses.

 

 

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Oregon International Air Show is This Weekend


The Oregon International Air Show has a lot more power this year. The stars of the show include the Patriots Team of L-39 jets. Kasi Woidyla with the air show says they U.S. Army Black Dagger Parachute Team will be making their first appearance at the show. They've also expanded their static display this year.

 

 

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Heceta Head Lighthouse Closes Temporarily


A popular viewpoint on the Oregon coast is closing today, and it'll stay closed for the rest of the summer.  Crews are giving a badly needed fix up to the parking lot at the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Parks spokesman Chris Havel says it'll open again at the end of September.

 

 

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One Group Happy with Court Ruling on Obama Care


The Oregon leader of the National Federation of Independent Business is happy that a Federal Appeals Court has struck down the individual mandate provision of President Obama's landmark healthcare legislation that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance or face penalties. Oregon NFIB State Director Jan Meekcom says if the rest of the law is allowed to stand, it will crush some 90,000 small Oregon businesses under the financial burden of providing mandatory health insurance.

 

 

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Horse Trainer Dies From Horse Kick


A female horse trainer in her forties died Thursday morning after being kicked in the head by a horse at Portland Meadows. Paul Corah with Portland fire says the animals can be very dangerous, simply due to their size. Corah says Portland Meadows has a good safety record and an incident like this has not happened in a long time.

 

 

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Improved Earthquake Monitoring


Scientists are building an underwater system that will help them monitor earthquakes off the coast of Oregon.  Researchers say fiber optic lines are being placed from Pacific City to more than 200 miles out to sea. The cable network will eventually include monitoring stations that will feed back data on earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other activity on the seafloor.

 

 

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Kip Kinkel Back in the News


Kip Kinkel is in the news today- he's now 28 years old and is asking to go to the state's mental hospital - and wants to change his plea to guilty - but "insane". Kip Kinkel pleaded guilty in 1999 to killing his parents with a high powered rifle. He then shot 27 people at Thurston High School in Springfield, killing two of them.  He was sentenced to 111 years at the state prison. Now he’s 28 years old, he’s suing Gerald Long, interim head of the State Correctional Institution in Salem. He wants to change his plea from “guilty” to “guilty, but insane”. Kinkel’s attorney argues the 15-year old weren’t given a proper mental evaluation. At the time, Defense Attorney had argued Kinkel was following the commands of voices in his head. Kinkel says he’s not trying to escape responsibility for his crime, but would rather serve his sentence at the State Hospital, rather than the State Prison. The state is yet to respond to the lawsuit and no court date has been set.  Kinkel lost an attempt four years ago for a new trial seeking an insanity defense. A Marion County Judge denied the request, which was upheld by the Oregon Court of Appeals.

 

 

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Kitzhaber's Polling Numbers Soar


Governor Kitzhaber is winning new friends but Oregon lawmakers are less popular in a new poll of Oregon voters.  Pollster Mike Riley says the Governor has a 45% approval rating, while the Legislature's a lot lower.  Riley says that male voters tend to give lawmakers favorable ratings, while Kitzhaber is more popular among women.

 

 

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Winning Lottery Ticket Still Not Cashed


It’s the third largest Megabucks Jackpot in Oregon history worth $21.8 million. But the Oregon Lottery hasn't heard from a winner since the ticket was sold in Portland July 30th. Ray Martin with the Oregon Lottery says the winning numbers are 3-10-15-16-23 and 27.

 

 

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Multnomah Library Very Popular


Multnomah County should be proud of its library. Jeremy Graybill with the library says last year they circulated nearly 23-million items. That's 31 items for every person in the County. And it's not just books, that includes cds, dvds and their new mp3 download service.

 

 

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Southern Oregon Fire Mostly Out


Fire crews in Southern Oregon are breathing a small sign of relief as last night's winds in the Summer Lake area did not kick up any hot spots. Public Information Officer Lisa Swinney with the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership says the Ana Fire started a couple of days ago. "That was 380 acres. They were able contain that fire and actually they're doing a lot of mop up now. At first, the community of Summer Lake was threatened, but that's subsided and the fire is almost out." Swinney says they are watching the weather now, because warm, dry winds are expected, and fire crews are standing by.

 

 

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Truck Accident Causes Wild Sight


A Nevada truck driver was ticketed for careless driving after a Tuesday morning crash on Highway 97 near Chemult. Troopers say the truck was southbound on Highway 97 when it drifted into the path of a northbound truck. Luckily that northbound driver swerved to avoid the head-on crash, maintaining control. But the southbound truck continued into the ditch and up an embankment, knocking down several trees and flipping the truck onto its side. The driver was not injured.

 

 

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Miracle Boy Stuns Doctors


Dale Ostrander, 12, is a miracle boy. Washed off the beach at Long Beach, Washington by a rip tide during a church trip, he was barely alive when he was pulled from the water. He was in a coma until revived on Sunday and on Monday, OHSU doctors removed his breathing tube. Dale's father Chad and mother Katie said they were so excited when Dale opened his eyes on command. He will require extensive therapy.

 

 

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New Radar Will Help Everyone in the Northwest


The National Weather Service is testing a new radar site that'll give forecasters a much better look over the Pacific Ocean. Meteorologist Ted Buehner says it’ll really help boaters.  The radar antenna is located in Grays Harbor County, Washington.  It's one of the first sites in the country to get dual-polarization technology, which will help it do a better job tracking storms. The site goes live on September 30th, just in time for the fall storms.

 

 

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Retired Couple Die in Hot Tub


In state news; it was apparently a tragic circumstance for a Salem couple. The State Medical Examiners Office says a Salem couple found dead in their backyard hot tub Monday morning apparently overheated and drowned.  Terry Kent, 56, and Melinda Sweeten, 57 were found by a relative who was planning to drop off a child in their care for the day. Dr. Larry Lewman says "They probably passed out and drowned after the heat became too much." People close to the couple say Kent and Sweeten were settling into retired life and appeared to have put a string of financial and legal troubles behind them.

 

 

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Ducks Begin Practice This Week


The Ducks football team opens fall practice today. But the focus remains on Oregon’s off the field issues.  Coach Chip Kelly said he does compare his program to Mike Bellotti’s program; but could not speculate why his teams have off-field problems.  The NCAA is continuing to investigate the Ducks recruiting practices. 

Willie Lyles alleges he was paid $20,000 to help steer recruits to Oregon.

 

 

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Wind Study Reveals Need for Code Changes


A new study of the damage created by large tornadoes has just been published. Dr. Arijit Sinha of Oregon State University says he was prompted to participate because they know there can be improvements in construction practices. He says one of the most common problems is a lack of fasteners within the damaged structures.  He says they discovered it might be time for an upgrade to modern building codes. They're hoping the study will be the beginning of an eventual shift to more engineered construction and better building standards.

 

 

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Cracking Down on Child Labor


A child labor crackdown in northwest berry fields. The Labor Department's Mike Shimizu says kids as young as six were found working as farm laborers. The farms have agreed not to do it again. There were three berry farms that were fined a total of $73,000. The minimum age is twelve, for farm labor, under federal law.

 

 

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Sizemore To Cool His Jets in Jail


He had several chances to pay Oregon income taxes but never did. So Bill Sizemore will serve 30 days in jail. Kate Medema with the Oregon Department of Justice says Sizemore pleaded guilty to three counts of felony income tax evasion. He will also be on probation for three years.

 

 

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New DUII Law Takes Effect in January


Oregon’s Governor has signed a new law requiring anyone convicted of DUII will have to install an ignition interlock on their car. Representative Kim Thatcher pushed the bill because of the damage done to human lives by DUII's. The new law takes effect January first.

 

 

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Bonamici Thows Hat into Ring


Long rumored to be running State Senator Suzanne Bonimici makes it official she's running for David Wu's open Congressional seat. She says she wants to restore civility to Washington. She joins State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and State Representative Brad Witt in the Democrat field.

 

 

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State Experiment with Road Markers


As part of a pilot project, the Oregon Department of Transportation is adding half-mile markers on two highways. “On 217, the whole route. And also on Highway 26, on the east side, about a 30 mile stretch from Sandy up past Government Camp.” ODOT's Don Hamilton says emergency responders want them, so drivers can give better descriptions of their locations. The project costs $43,000 with the money coming from ODOT's Highway Safety Fund. If it's successful, it might be expanded to other highways in the state.

 

 

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National Guard Soldiers Will Receive Money


PFC Chelsea Wells and nine other Oregon National Guard soldiers will get their bonus. Captain Stephen Bomar says the delay in paying them was due to a computer problem. Congressman Greg Walden criticized the National Guard saying the soldiers should have been paid the bonus to begin with because they had fulfilled their commitment. The cases of nine other soldiers are being reviewed to see if they also should be paid.

 

 

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Special Election Set


There will be two elections to fill David Wu's Congressional seat. The special primary will be held November 8th and the special General Election will be held January 31st. Secretary of State Kate Brown says they'll cost nearly a million dollars. The vote by mail ballots will go out to five counties: Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Columbia and Clatsop. 

 

 

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Tualatin Businessman Wants Wu's Seat


Tualatin businessman Rob Cornilles is the first Republican to announce he's running for David Wu's open Congressional seat in the special election. He lost in the 2010 race to Wu and says this time around it could be different. Cornilles touts his experience of starting a small business. Wu recently resigned after allegations of an unwanted sexual encounter with a teenager.

 

 

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Oregon Business States Looking Good


Oregon and Washington are near the top of the heap for people starting up their own businesses. The states are in the top five for entrepreneurs in a study by economists at the University of Nebraska. Treasury spokesman James Sinks says Oregon made the biggest improvement in the nation. While Oregon is fifth; Washington ranks third in the study, which looks at the number of startup companies, the number of patents and the gross receipts of small business.

 

 

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Wyden Possibly Tapped for Super Committee


The name of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is popping up on the list of possible candidates for the new Congressional super -committee. Tthe so-called “Gang of 12” will recommend deficit-cutting measures later this year.  Wyden won't speculate on whether he'll be a member,  but says he has an agenda: “I’m going to press the case for tax-reform relentlessly, especially the special Congressional committee.” Wyden says if he's asked, he'll dig in with all he's got.

 

 

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Natural Gas Prices to Remain the Same Over Winter


Oregon’s three natural gas companies have told the Oregon Public Utility Commission that prices will not increase this winter. The PUC's Bob Valdez says Avista and Cascade Natural Gas prices will remain the same.  Northwest natural will lower prices up to 2%. Prices will be set this fall and won't change for the year,  unless there's a significant outside factor that causes wholesale gas prices to change.

 

 

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Portland Brewfest Too Popular?


The Oregon Brewers Festival estimates 80,000 people attended the four-day event at Portland’s Waterfront Park.  That's 12,000 more than last year. Chris Crabb says the increase is good and bad. It was too crowded and lines were long, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Although organizers are happy that people are more interested in craft beers, there must be some changes to accommodate the crowds. An economic impact study suggests the festival brings about $2-million into Portland.

 

 

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Oregon School Report Card Not Great


Oregon’s annual report card is in, and it's not a good one, on how the schools are meeting the 'No Child Left Behind" law. This year 54% of schools met the federal target, down from 71% the year before. Superintendent Susan Castillo says a higher bar for special ed students is the main reason for what she admits is a discouraging report. But she adds that overall student performance is on the rise.

 

 

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Harrington Conditions Improves


During all his years of playing football former Oregon and NFL Quarterback Joe Harrington was never hit and hurt like he was Sunday night. It was while riding his bike in southeast Portland that he was rear-ended by an SUV. His father, John Harrington says he suffered a broken collarbone and punctured lung. Harrington is expected to be released from OHSU Tuesday.

 

 

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Baseball in Milwaukee, Oregon?


The City of Milwaukie takes a swing at landing minor league baseball. Project Manager Kenny Asher says they want to build a 4000 seat stadium costing $20 to 30 million. The City is eyeing ODOT property along McLoughlin Boulevard. The City would hope to have a single a team from the northwest league playing there by 2014.

 

 

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New Med School in Lebanon


The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific has just opened its northwest campus in Lebanon. Paula Crone is the Executive Assistant Dean and explains the difference between a D.O. and an M.D.: “It’s an established science based medical operation, juts like an M.D. school is. But we place really unique emphasis on interactive patient care, looking at the whole person.” 107 students are going through orientation this week. They'll go through the four year program and graduate in 2015. By then, Crone says the school will host 400 students.

 

 

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Gas Increasing Slightly


Gas prices have increased slightly in Oregon; about a penny a gallon at $3.77. Marie Dodds, with Triple-A says diesel prices are mostly flat. The debate over the deficit and debt ceiling could impact prices in two ways: if it boosts the markets, then gas prices would go up. But if it strengthens the dollar, then prices would go down, because a stronger dollar would buy more crude oil.

 

 

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Dems Differ on Debt Ceiling


Oregon Democrats don't all agree on the debt ceiling bill. Congressman Kurt Shcrader says he's for it, because it protects the most vulnerable people. But fellow democrat Peter DeFazio calls it a back room deal that protects the rich.

 

 

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Lake Health Warnings in Oregon


Health Advisories have been issued for two popular recreational areas due to high algae levels. Health officials report blue-green algae at Diamond Lake seven miles north of Crater Lake National Park along Highway 138. The other trouble spot is on the South Umpqua River near Myrtle Creek. Water tests were conducted there after the death of a dog and confirmed the presence of blue-green algae.

 

 

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Joey Harrington Injured in Accident


Former University of Oregon and NFL quarterback Joey Harrington is hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries after he was hit by a car while riding a bicycle last night. Portland police say the accident happened at 8:24 p.m. near the intersection of Southeast Foster and 88th Avenue. Authorities say Harrington was westbound on Foster when the car struck Harrington's rear wheel. Police have cited the driver of the car, 26-year-old Derek Johnston, for following too close.

 

 

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Portland Stabbing


It was a stabbing at an Oregon campground. Oregon State Police are seeking a Portland man wanted in a stabbing at a camping site in Clatsop County Saturday morning. Authorities say the victim was camping with about 50 other people when he started arguing with another camper. Police say the suspect, identified as Scott Robert Brandon, allegedly sprayed the victim with a chemical agent and then stabbed him in the torso with what is believed to be a bayonet.   The victim was transported to a hospital, and police say Brandon is still at large.

 

 

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Woman Cries Rape


Police say it’s a hoax: the woman who claimed she was raped behind a Borders Book Store in Gresham Monday, made the story up. Gresham police Sergeant Wallace Coon says an investigation determined it never happened. The victim told officers two men grabbed her as she was walking to her car and forced her to a secluded area behind the bookstore, where they raped her. The woman could face criminal charges for lying about the incident, but Sergeant Coon says she will not be prosecuted.

 

 

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Coast Sawmill Opens Today


They’re celebrating on the north Oregon coast. The Warrenton Sawmill is reopening today, and about a hundred jobs are coming back. It shut down over a year and a half ago. Hampton Affiliates CEO Steve Zika says the timber economy is improving, but not much. But they have a good supply of logs. Strong demand for finished lumber in China and high hopes of adding more jobs in the future.

 

 

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New Research Tool; Old Newspapers


There’s a new website that allows you to read old Oregon newspapers from 1846 to 1922. Karen Estlund, with the Oregon Digital Newspaper Project says this website allows you to search for specific words. 180,000 pages have been scanned and they hope to double that in a few years. We have a link at KBND.com.

 

 

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Evergreen Museum Suffers Fire Damage


The director of the Evergreen Aviation Museum says it's not good news. Larry Wood says major future displays were burned in a spectacular fire at an offsite facility. Original papers for the Spruce Goose were spared. And the future shuttle flight simulator was not being stored there. Preliminary estimates pegged the damage at $20 million.

 

 

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