Oregon | KUOW News and Information

Oregon

Oregon lawmakers are delaying a decision on whether to open a second women's prison. A legislative panel voted Wednesday to deny a funding request from the Oregon Department of Corrections.

The threat of snow and freezing rain prompted a rare snow day in much of northwest Oregon. Most school districts and many government offices closed in the Willamette Valley.

Backers of Oregon’s high school improvement initiative are concerned the measure might not get funded.

Measure 98 intends to dedicate nearly $150 million a year to dropout prevention, career training and college prep classes. It passed with 66 percent of the vote.

The measure’s language includes a funding trigger: $800 per high school student is supposed to fill a grant fund for school districts, so long as there is an increase of at least $1.5 billion over the current biennium.

The number of public school students in Oregon considered homeless has increased for the third year in a row. That's according to an annual report released by the state Department of Education.

With Thanksgiving on the mind of most people this week, a new report shows the number of Oregonians who aren't sure where their next meal is coming from continues to rise.

Many Oregon motels are sold out and reservable campsites are going fast for an event that doesn't happen until the second half of next year. If you don't want to miss a total solar eclipse, mark August 21, 2017 on your calendar.

The Oregon Board of Forestry is proposing to increase the number of shade trees left standing beside streams after logging on private forests. The proposed rules are designed to improve habitat for salmon, steelhead and bull trout in the western part of the state.

The idea is to get these streams into compliance with the state’s own rules about protecting cold water for these species of fish.

According to numbers released Monday by the Oregon Secretary of State's office, about 42 percent of people who were automatically registered to vote this year did so in this month's election.

Oregonians could be voting in two years on whether they want to remain a part of the United States. Sponsors of an initiative petition called the Oregon Secession Act submitted the initial paperwork just after Tuesday's election results became known.

Activists with the Portland Climate Action Coalition are putting the finishing touches on an old school bus they purchased and renovated to serve as a shelter and medical facility for oil pipeline protesters at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.

Democrats now have a 30-year winning streak when it comes to the Oregon governor's office. Kate Brown easily held off Republican challenger Bud Pierce Tuesday night.

When it comes to the amount of trash produced, Oregon is moving in the wrong direction. A new report Monday from the Department of Environmental Quality shows households are producing more solid waste, but recycling and composting less of it.

Around a third of all American adults are concerned that the election will be rigged. With one week remaining to turn in ballots, Oregon elections officials say the state's vote-by-mail system is as safe as ever.

Reaction is coming in fast to the not guilty verdicts for the seven Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers.

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice released exactly the same press release saying while they had hoped for a different outcome, they respect the verdicts and thanked the jury.

But outdoor groups are angry.

Audubon Society President David Yarnold said he’s outraged and that wild lands belong to everyone, not the people who hold them at gunpoint. He said the verdicts undermines the rule of law.

The end of the six-week trial for seven people who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon can be summed up in two words: not guilty.

A 12-person jury found occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy not guilty Thursday of the government's primary charge: conspiracy to impede federal officers by force, threat or intimidation. Their five co-defendants — Jeff Banta, Shawna Cox, David Fry, Kenneth Medenbach and Neil Wampler — have all been found not guilty as well.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

The jury hearing the federal trial of seven people who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon entered a fourth day of deliberations Wednesday — a day after jurors' ability to reach a verdict came into question.

The only clinic to focus on African-American health in Oregon opened a new building in Portland on Friday.

North By Northeast Community Health Center board member Kevin Howard said many community members prefer it to mainstream health systems.

“A lot of us as African-American patients feel like they're just another number," Howard said. "They feel like they’re, not important.”

The clinic’s co-founder, Dr. Jill Ginsberg, said if you have diabetes and you’re black, you’re still twice as likely to die as someone who’s white.

A long-time veteran with the Oregon Department of Corrections has been promoted to serve as the agency's interim deputy director. The move comes after the previous deputy director resigned after less than two years on the job.

The Oregon Department of Justice has issued a cease-and-desist order against a man trying to create a “Keep Portland Weird” license plate.

Portland man Steve Barile launched a crowdfunding campaign for the license plate last week. He said it would serve as a compliment to existing "historic plates, old-fashioned plates, plates that celebrate our beautiful landscape and wildlife."

Closing arguments are underway in the trial of seven people accused of illegally occupying Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last year.

Marijuana retailers began collecting a 25 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales starting in January. That money is adding up quickly.

Gov. Kate Brown is promising “sweeping change” from the new state air pollution rule-making process now underway.

Oregonians will be able to use their drivers licenses to enter federal buildings until at least next June. That's because of an extension granted by the U.S. government this week.

There's about one month remaining to submit proposals to buy Oregon's Elliott State Forest.

The Oregon Department of State Lands says so far, no one has expressed interest in the 82,000 acre property in southwest Oregon.

The state values the land at $220 million and says whoever buys it would have to maintain public access on at least 50 percent of the site. The new owner would also have to preserve part of it for old-growth timber and protect fish habitat.

But some conservation groups say those guidelines will be hard to enforce if private investors buy the land.

After more than a decade of construction, a section of U.S. Highway 20 in Oregon's Coast Range is now open to traffic. But work isn't done on the project yet.

Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood in Portland, Oregon.
Flickr Photo/Dan (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6oY8ZW

Bill Radke speaks with Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Amelia Templeton about Portland's failed experiment to allow homeless individuals to camp on public land. The Seattle City Council is considering a similar proposal. 

Oregon Health Authority Offers Free Soil Tests

Oct 5, 2016

The Oregon Health Authority is offering free soil screenings at a public meeting in Portland next week.

The event comes after concerns about toxic metals in the air.

Whether you’re growing a lettuce in a window box or your whole yard’s been turned over to vegetables, health officials say it's good to know what's in the soil.

OHA spokeswoman Julie Sifuentes said people can bring soil samples from anywhere in their yard.

Courtesy of OPB/Amanda Peacher

Bill Radke speaks with Oregon Public Broadcasting's Ryan Haas about the trial over the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge earlier this year. 

Gov. Kate Brown's Natural Resource Policy Director Richard Whitman will be stepping in as the next interim director of the troubled Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Whitman as a replacement for interim director Pete Shepherd, who was appointed by the commission in April. Whitman will assume the position Oct. 15 and stay in the role until a permanent director is hired.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown discussed a potential new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River during a phone call this week. Inslee mentioned his conversation with Governor Brown during an interview with the editorial board of the Columbian newspaper in Vancouver.

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