Oregon | KUOW News and Information

Oregon

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.

Oregon lawmakers are considering proposals aimed at making sure women are paid the same rate as men for similar work. Two measures were introduced this week.

A joint House and Senate panel of the Oregon Legislature is getting down to work this month on crafting a massive transportation funding package.

The federal conspiracy trials against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his followers is beginning on Monday, with jury selection for the trial of six of Bundy's supporters.

The cases, stemming from a 2014 armed standoff against federal agents in Nevada, are unfolding in several stages. Bundy and his four sons are among the 17 total defendants but won't be immediately entering the courtroom.

In a new report, the Oregon Global Warming Commission says the state isn't expected to come within striking distance of its 2020 or 2050 goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The commission says the latest numbers show "a perilous reversal" in the downward trend of emissions from cars and trucks over the past few years. In short, people are driving more – and in bigger vehicles.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said it's not clear what effect President Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities will have on state government. But the Democrat said she's committed to protecting the human rights of undocumented Oregonians.

The chief budget-writers for the Oregon Legislature have released a spending proposal that includes cuts to state programs. The proposal issued Thursday outlines how lawmakers might bridge an expected budget gap.

Three Oregon conservation groups say a new plan to manage National Wildlife Refuges in the Klamath Basin doesn’t do enough to protect habitat. The groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Medford to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider additional options.

Two Oregon congressmen say they’re skipping the presidential inaugural next week because of their distaste for President-elect Donald Trump.

Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader said they will stay in Oregon and participate in events critical of the incoming president.

Blumenauer said he has attended every inauguration during his two decades in office — until now.

The timber industry thinks it may able to reverse President Barack Obama's expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Southern Oregon.

The president's decision to add 48,000 acres to the 65,000-acre national monument was praised by environmentalists and Oregon's two senators, Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

But a timber industry trade group argued that Obama misused his power under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

The timber industry thinks it may able to reverse President Barack Obama's expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Southern Oregon.

The president's decision to add 48,000 acres to the 65,000-acre national monument was praised by environmentalists and Oregon's two senators, Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

But a timber industry trade group argued that Obama misused his power under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

When it comes to women, there are two things American culture doesn’t look so kindly on: age and weight. Portland dance veteran Tahni Holt’s newest show, “Sensation/Disorientation,” delights in both.

By the time the audience walks into the theater, the performance has already begun. A heap of dancers writhe across the floor in an undulating mass of brightly patterned skirts, splayed hair and little flashes of gold lamé, like some thrift store reenactment of a Gustav Klimt painting.

Teresa Alonso Leon has a few memories of her early childhood in the Mexican state of Michoacan.

"My mom, she used to take laundry down to the lake and wash our clothes by hand," she said. "I remember going down by the lake and spending time with my mom, and taking baths in the lake."

When she was 5, Alonso Leon's parents decided the family would be better off in the United States. They moved to Woodburn, Oregon.

The Willamette Valley town was drawing scores of migrant farm workers.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will take the oath of office and deliver an inaugural address Monday.

Brown, a Democrat, became governor when John Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015. She was elected in November to serve the remaining two years of Kitzhaber's term.

The governor's office says Brown's speech Monday will double as her State of the State address. It comes before a joint session of the Oregon House and Senate.

Another big winter storm is due to arrive in the Portland metro area Saturday.

School administrators are likely breathing sighs of relief that it didn't hit during the week, judging by the havoc the December storms wreaked across the Portland region. Records received by OPB show how one district made decisions as snow and freezing rain crippled transportation in the region last month.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler plans to start a national search for a new police chief starting in February.

In his first press conference as mayor, Wheeler said he will give the public an opportunity to weigh in on his hiring choice.

“When we get down to the top few of finalists, let’s say three today as a marker, I’d like to have an opportunity for the public to be able to vet the finalists,” he said.

This year's state legislature will be among the most diverse in Oregon history. Among the new crop of lawmakers is Teresa Alonso Leon, who immigrated from Mexico as a child and became a U.S. citizen just five years ago.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will take the oath of office and deliver an inaugural address Monday.

Brown, a Democrat, became governor when John Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015. She was elected in November to serve the remaining two years of Kitzhaber's term.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is raising the price of cleaning up the Portland Harbor Superfund Site from $746 million to $1.05 billion in a final plan that calls for more dredging and capping of contaminated soil along a 10-mile stretch of the Willamette River.

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