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Oregon

New hardline immigration policies from the federal government have led to backlash nationwide. And in Oregon, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has an occupation on its hands.

After years of debate, the Portland City Council on Wednesday took a big step towards making the city’s old brick buildings more earthquake-safe.

UPDATE (1:40 p.m. PT) — Salem has issued yet another drinking water advisory Wednesday for the city’s vulnerable populations – just four days after lifting an initial advisory that prompted Gov. Kate Brown to issue an emergency and activate the National Guard.

The new advisory is based off of water samples taken on June 3-4. 

Gov. Kate Brown is declaring an emergency and mobilizing Oregon National Guard soldiers in response to an ongoing water quality situation in and around Salem.

UPDATE (May 10, 2018, 8:06 a.m. PT) — Eight law enforcement officers involved in last month's shooting at a Portland homeless shelter will not face criminal charges.

Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced late Wednesday that no charges will be filed against the seven Portland Police Bureau officers and one Multnomah County sheriff's deputy involved in the shooting that left 48-year-old John Andrew Elifritz dead on April 7.

In a statement, Underhill said a grand jury heard testimony for four days related to the case.

In July, seven Oregon craft breweries will start selling beer in reusable glass bottles in the country’s first statewide refillable beer bottle program.

Oregon's Widmer Brothers, Buoy Beer, Double Mountain, GoodLife, Gigantic, Wild Ride and Rock Bottom breweries will be pioneering the program with some of their beers. Other breweries may join the program later.

The reusable bottles will be on store shelves just like all the other beer, but they'll look a little different.

Drive across Oregon and it’s hard not to notice that many of the state’s steel bridges — from the foggy coast to high desert — are the same shade of sage green. It’s so ubiquitous that the paint’s manufacturer calls it “ODOT Green" after Oregon’s Department of Transportation.

But ODOT Green — a color that started a national phenomenon — is a color that almost didn’t happen: Oregon’s first green-painted bridge, the St. Johns, was initially supposed to be striped black and yellow like a bumblebee.

You could almost start a zoo with all of the exotic creatures seized by animal control officers in Olympia about three weeks ago. Now the owners of an Oregon-based private wildlife center are petitioning to get their animals back. 

This March 20, 2016, photo shows the Hart family of Woodland, Wash., at a Bernie Sanders rally in Vancouver, Wash.
AP Photo/Tristan Fortsch, handout

Bill Radke talks to Seattle Times reporter Nina Shapiro about what Oregon officials knew about the Hart family and allegations of child abuse. Six of the family members, including both mothers, have been confirmed dead and two children are still missing after they drove off a California cliff.

Lawmakers Revive Funding For Rural Oregon, But It's No Long-Term Solution

Mar 22, 2018

Members of Oregon's congressional delegation say they've revived funding for an expired federal aid program that provided money to rural counties whose economies relied heavily on federal timber harvesting.

In lieu of timber receipts, counties received federal aid. After 15 years of temporary funding extensions, the money ran out in 2015.

Oregon wildlife managers are trapping sea lions at Willamette Falls and trucking them out to the coast in an effort to protect a very fragile run of steelhead.

Biologists estimate the sea lions at Willamette Falls are eating at least a quarter of the winter steelhead run. At that rate, they say, there’s about a 90 percent chance at least one population of the fish will go extinct.

  Last year’s intense fire season led to calls for more “treatment” of federal forests to remove excess fuel that can make for bigger, hotter wildfires.

In November, House Republicans — including Oregon’s Greg Walden – passed a bill to grease the skids for more work in the woods. The bill now awaits action in the Republican-controlled Senate.

But while there’s broad bipartisan agreement that more needs to be done to promote forest health,  the opposing sides can have very different pictures of what that looks like on the ground.

UPDATE (Feb. 6, 10:27 p.m. PST) — An investigation into behavior by Oregon Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, released Tuesday states Kruse had a pattern of "engaging in unwelcome physical contact toward females in the workplace."

Young smokers in Washington state may have trouble getting a pack of cigarettes in the near future. State lawmakers are considering raising the minimum age to buy tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21.

If you usually ring in the holiday with a freshly cut evergreen, your reality this Christmas could very well be a scrawny Charlie Brown tree instead — or you may wind up paying more for a lush Fraser fir.

This year, there is a tree shortage. Most growers blame the tightened supply on the Great Recession, says Valerie Bauerlein, who covered the story for The Wall Street Journal.

The Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge opened its doors to visitors Wednesday for the first time since the Eagle Creek Fire prompted its closure in September — peak visitor season.

Remnants of the fire remain, leaving popular areas off-limits to visitors including the lower viewing platform and trails surrounding the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon.

A prototype of a single-seat passenger drone has arrived at Pendleton, Oregon's airport for flight testing. That according to the Silicon Valley-based Airbus subsidiary A^3—or “A-cubed”—behind the Vahana Project.

The battery-powered, self-flying aircraft has been reassembled after shipping and is now undergoing ground tests.

Oregon and Washington will be part of a group discussing climate change initiatives with two neighboring nations. The agreement between the more than a dozen U.S. states and Mexico and Canada is the product of meetings at an international climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

Washington’s economic climate is the fourth best in the nation. That’s according to a new report by produced by Washington’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

The City of Portland and Port of Portland can proceed with lawsuits against Monsanto, but a judge has dismissed several of the city’s claims over chemical contamination of the city’s waterways.

Portland is one of eight West Coast cities, including Seattle and Spokane, with pending lawsuits against the agrochemical corporation. The suits focus on lasting contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, a now-banned group of chemicals widely used decades ago, often as coolants or lubricants in electrical equipment.

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson has turned over a database of state voter information to the Trump administration.

Of all the resources that hang in the balance as firefighters attempt to slow the growth of the Eagle Creek Fire, one stands out: the Bull Run watershed.

It’s 150 square miles of hemlock, fir and cedar trees just south of the Columbia River Gorge. The forest soaks up rain and fills the lakes and reservoirs that provide drinking water for close to 1 million people in Portland, Gresham, Beaverton and Tigard.

Oregon is ablaze right now. With at least 25 active wildfires burning more than 282,000 acres, smoke inhalation is a major health concern for the Beaver State.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency have issued an air quality alert for Northeast Oregon until 6 p.m. Tuesday. Wildfires burning around the region are to blame, with smoke and ash creating unhealthy conditions in Portland, the north coast, the Columbia River Gorge, the Willamette Valley and beyond.

The August heat set records in Portland and Salem. It was especially brutal for people who work outside.

Oregon's workers compensation firm, SAIF, reports it received more than 30 heat-related claims in August this year.

"We see things like heat cramp, heat stress, and more seriously, heat exhaustion," said Ben McCormack, the senior safety management consultant at SAIF Corporation.

When a massive tsunami hit the northeast coast of Japan in 2011, waves of water overtopped sea walls, swallowed buildings and surged higher than anticipated. One thing those images prompted was a reexamination of the tsunami risk in the Pacific Northwest.

Courtesy of Rick Fienberg TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

Bill Radke talks to former NPR reporter David Baron about why he believes everyone should witness a full solar eclipse in their lifetime. Baron also talks about his new book "American Eclipse" that tells the story of the 1878 full solar eclipse that stretched across the American West and drew the nation's scientists and eclipse chasers. 

The final scramble is on to see the total eclipse on Aug. 21 in the Northwest. Most hotels and campgrounds in the path of totality are booked.

But for those willing to do some research, or pay handsomely, there are still eclipse adventures to be had.

Lou Torres has worked with the Oregon Department of Transportation on and off for about 12 years.

He was there for the time a truck carrying fish guts overturned, for that other time when whipped cream covered I-5 and for that time bee hives — filled with bees — fell onto a highway.

Still, Torres ranked the the hagfish spill that happened in the southbound lane of U.S. Highway 101 on Thursday as a 9.5 out of 10 on the “weird incident” scale.

A federal judge will allow the Trump administration to complete its review of national monuments before deciding how to move forward with a lawsuit involving the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Two timber companies in southern Oregon have filed a lawsuit against the expansion, arguing the enlarged Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is a violation of presidential authority and could hamper their logging operations.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

A decision by Oregon's Transportation Commission makes it the first state to allow residents to identify as "non-binary" — a third gender option beyond male or female.

Starting in July, Oregonians can select M, F, or X as their gender on licenses and identification cards, The Oregonian reports. Applicants who want a new ID will pay fees for replacement or renewal.

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