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Oregon

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.

The Oregon House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that aims to prevent so-called “lunch shaming” in Oregon Schools.

Micah White moved to Nehalem, Oregon, a few years ago and later ran for mayor. He wanted to test a revolutionary theory: that progressives need to seize control of the country via the democratic process and run for local office in small communities.
Flickr Photo/Internaz https://flic.kr/p/goMEa8 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It’s a radical idea — that protest as we know it is broken. And a lot of people disagreed with Micah White when he first started talking about it, but he believes it’s time for activists to try something else. 

Fire Managers Declare Start To Fire Season In Oregon

Jun 7, 2017

The Oregon Department of Forestry says wildfire season has officially begun in four regions of the state.

Mike Shaw is the district forester for ODF’s Central Oregon district. He said this year’s heavy snowpack made for a slightly later-than-usual start to the season.

“As the snowpack melts and recedes to higher elevation, the lower- and mid-elevation ground becomes available to burn, provided we don’t get much spring rain,” Shaw said.

The Oregon Senate passed a bill Wednesday that exempts people from criminal or civil liability if they break into a car to rescue a pet or a child. 



Micah Fletcher, a victim of a stabbing attack on a light rail train that left two dead, watches as suspect Jeremy Christian is arraigned in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, May 30, 2017.
Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP, Pool

Prof. Cheryl Kaiser of the University of Washington discusses the bystander effect and whether to step into a dangerous situation to help a stranger.  

Several Oregon lawmakers hailed the victims of Friday's stabbing on a Portland light rail train as "heroes."

Two people died and a third was seriously injured when they intervened to protect two teenage girls from a man making threatening, racist comments.

Two people are dead and one was injured after a stabbing on a train in Portland, Ore., on Friday afternoon.

A virtual trip to the pyramids? An interactive hologram of the universe?

Virtual and augmented reality has the potential to transform the classroom and how we learn everything from history to astronomy to engineering.

Take, for example, the transmission of a car. Like many complex systems, it’s a beast to teach. To understand how it works, students have to take it apart and then rely on their imaginations to picture how all the disassembled pieces fit and operate together once turned on, with many parts spinning at multiple speeds in multiple directions.

The May revenue forecast is a critical piece of information for lawmakers as they decide how to spend taxpayer dollars during the next two-year budget cycle.

Supporters of a proposal to cover the medical costs of all Oregon children rallied at the state Capitol Friday. A pair of bills under consideration in Salem—HB 2726 and SB 558—would extend Oregon Health Plan coverage to include kids who are in the country illegally.

Upward of a million people are expected to flood Oregon for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, which has cities across the state scrambling to prepare. Some, like Madras, have been planning for months. Others are just beginning.

Nestled along the John Day River is one of the smallest towns in the eclipse’s path of totality: Spray. Population: 160 people, one convenience store, one gas pump and one small food counter that closes at 6 p.m.

With Oregon’s biggest cities in a housing crunch, lawmakers are considering a measure that would require landlords to give specific reasons for evicting a tenant.

Right now people who want to cast a ballot in Oregon have to register at least three weeks in advance. But a state senator wants voters to be able to register right up until one day before an election.

Three top elected officials in Oregon are now embroiled in a messy political struggle over whether to privatize an 82,500-acre state forest near Coos Bay.

The infighting among Gov. Kate Brown, Treasurer Tobias Read and Secretary of State Dennis Richardson — the three members of the State Land Board — is highly unusual in a state dominated by Democratic officials who tend to prize cooperation over confrontation.

A measure under consideration in the Oregon Legislature would allow juries to award unlimited damages in lawsuits alleging negligence.

Juries can already award unlimited damages that are tied to actual economic harm done to victims. But the state has a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages, sometimes referred to as "pain and suffering."

Federal prosecutors are close to resting their case-in-chief in the second trial of defendants linked to last year’s occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon.

On Monday, the government will call a handful of FBI agents to talk about evidence, a federal employee who worked at the refuge in January 2016, and occupier Blaine Cooper, who pleaded guilty in the case last year.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would make it illegal to check your social media feeds while you're behind the wheel. A House panel takes up the bill Monday afternoon.

Portland Religious Organizations Join New Sanctuary Movement

Feb 24, 2017

Faith leaders and immigration groups came together in Portland Friday to oppose expanded deportations by the Trump administration. A growing number are offering sanctuary.

Nobody being deported by ICE is claiming sanctuary in Oregon or Washington right now.

But the Pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, Erik Knutson, says since the election, the number of synagogues, churches and mosques offering sanctuary around the nation, has doubled — from 400 to 800.

Oregon is the only state without an impeachment process. But some state lawmakers are trying to establish a way to impeach statewide elected officials, including the governor.

When a convicted felon, domestic abuser or fugitive tries to buy a gun in Oregon and is denied after a background check, a state trooper comes calling. Sometimes it leads to an arrest and prosecution.

But when this happens in Washington, it’s a different story.

Oregon's original constitution is badly in need of some TLC. Secretary of State Dennis Richardson launched a crowdfunding campaign Tuesday to restore and protect the document.

Sea Turtle Stranded Along Oregon Coast Dies

Feb 13, 2017

A sea turtle that washed up on Oregon’s beaches over the weekend has died.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium reported Monday the loggerhead turtle was stunned by cold waters, and succumbed to its injuries.

Loggerhead turtles are relatively rare to see on Oregon shores, with the last one to arriving here Christmas Eve 2007. It also died after just a single day of treatment.

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