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Oregon

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.

You can now use your credit or debit card when you visit the DMV in Oregon. The agency is now accepting plastic at all 60 of its field offices.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of the Interior Monday announced a $492 million settlement with a number of tribes. It ends decades-long disputes between the tribes and the federal government over land management.

A new report shows that it’s increasingly difficult for young people to get into farming in Oregon.

The study shows that the average farmer in Oregon is 60 years old — that’s the oldest average age for farmers in state history. The report also shows that Oregon land prices are a major hurdle for young people who want to farm.

"A high price of land means that a farmer has an almost insurmountable barrier to buying into a farm business," said Nellie McAdams, program director with Rogue Farm Corps, one of the co-authors of the report.

Oregon leaders know there’s a one in three chance of a massive earthquake and tsunami over the next 50 years.

Those are high odds. And they’re the reason why some people are frustrated Oregon State University plans to build a $50 million dollar research center smack in the middle of the tsunami zone.

In Newport’s harbor, moored next to all the fishing boats, lies the Newport Belle.

It’s an old stern-wheeler that’s been turned into a bed and breakfast by owner, Michael Wilkinson.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has appointed Margaret Salazar as the new head of the state agency that handles works to provide affordable housing. The announcement was made as lawmakers gear up to tackle housing issues during next year's legislative session.

Women and girls in Oregon are more likely to be survivors of sexual violence, and have the highest incidence of reported depression in the country, according to a report released Wednesday on the status of women in the state.

The Oregon Health Authority says an increase in selenium concentrations near Bullseye Glass Company has prompted an inspection.

Data from a device near the Children’s Creative Learning Center in Southeast Portland showed slightly elevated concentrations of selenium on September 6.

Selenium is an essential nutrient needed in the human body, but it can be hazardous at high levels.

Bullseye has been in trouble with the state several times this year for similar emissions problems.

Steady job growth means Oregon's economy will continue to do well in the short term. But storm clouds are on the horizon. That was the prediction Wednesday from state economists.

Federal Judge Ann Aiken heard from attorneys Tuesday in a case that 21 young people have brought against the Obama administration over climate change. the audience for the hearing overflowed into two other rooms at the Eugene Federal Courthouse and in courtrooms in Portland.

Attorneys for the federal government and fossil fuel industry groups argued for dismissal of the case.

Sean Duffy, with the Justice Department, acknowledged climate change is real and human caused. But he said the judicial system is not the right forum to push for more action to cut carbon emissions.

Voter registration is surging in Oregon. The Secretary of State's office said Tuesday that nearly 300,000 new voters have been added over the past year. But the uptick isn't due to interest in the presidential election.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made another big-money contribution to an Oregon candidate. The recipient this time is Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.

The Oregon Health Authority has a lot on its plate. It arranges medical care for low income people, operates the state's mental hospitals, and even oversees the medical marijuana programs.

The Federal Highway Administration has granted Oregon $2.1 million for the state’s pay-per-mile tax program. The pilot OReGO program started in 2015 and now includes more than 1,200 vehicles.

"We received funding to expand our technology options and to develop new ones potentially, including a manual option that we would need if we were to go to a fully mandated statewide program," said Michelle Godfrey, an Oregon Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

Crook County is the latest in rural Oregon to consider a natural resource plan that outlines policies on things like timber harvest, wildlife and fire management.

Crook County leaders voted 2-1 Tuesday to reject the natural resource plan submitted by a local political action committee.

Relations between federal land managers and residents of the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon have long been strained by disputes over the Bureau of Land Management’s forest plans.

With another large forestry project now under consideration, I went on a field trip with BLM staff and Applegate residents to look at the proposed Nedsbar timber sale on Bald Mountain.

Kristi Mastrofini, a field manager in the Medford, Oregon, office of the Bureau of Land Management, points the group toward our destination.

A wildlife rehabilitation facility in Central Oregon is under investigation by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center voluntarily gave up its permit to care for wildlife after a visit from ODFW officials earlier this month.

"When that occurred, we went into the facility and dealt with those animals," said Michelle Dennehy, spokeswoman for ODFW. She said the center was caring for mostly birds or small mammals that were then transferred to other care centers, released or euthanized.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has officially asked President Obama to designate a remote area in southeastern Oregon as a national monument.

Blumenauer is the only member of Oregon’s Congressional delegation to openly ask Obama to create an Owyhee National Monument.

2016 Oregon Lens Series Schedule

Aug 11, 2016

For 18 seasons Oregon Lens has showcased the talent and diversity of the Northwest’s independent filmmakers, and this year is no exception. Through their eyes, we explore the coffee farms of El Salvador, the rivers of Colorado and the wonders of our own backyard. We learn what it takes to be a carpenter, a bush pilot or a ballerina. We race motorcycles, ride trains and hike through the desert. And yes, we even see a Frogman team up with the Ghostbusters.

Here’s the lineup of this year’s films:

Just days after the Bureau of Land Management finalized two forestry plans for Oregon, conservation and timber interests have each filed lawsuits in federal court.

The Western Oregon plans will govern how forests are managed for the coming decades – including what land will be logged and what will be set aside to protect water quality and endangered species habitat.

During the decade before the U.S. Civil War, a different conflict made a big impact on the future of the Oregon Territory. It's known as the Rogue River Indian War. But unlike the Civil War battlefields in the eastern U.S. or American South that receive hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, you’ll be hard pressed to tour -- or even find -- those battlefields.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden says Canada is tipping the scales for its lumber companies by undercharging them for publicly-owned timber.

As a result, the Oregon Democrat says, Canadian companies have an unfair advantage over U.S. lumber producers — especially in the Northwest.

But Canadian leaders disagree. The two countries have fought over the issue for decades. They’re currently renegotiating a 2006 agreement that expired last year.

Bill Radke speaks with Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Amelia Templeton about the decision by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales to reverse his policy allowing homeless people to camp in public parks or on sidewalks.

Since floods closed a rail line through the Coast Range in 2007, people have looked to build a trail — spanning from Banks in Washington County to the city of Tillamook — in its place.

A board of state, county and tribal officials is tackling the costs, land ownership and other issues before the so-called Salmonberry Trail can be completed and opened.

A Portland company has received state backing to perfect using a solar technology to clean farm and factory pollution.

State research investors with Oregon BEST believe Portland-based Focal Technologies has a promising technology based on using the sun's rays to clean up contaminated water.

The idea is not new, according to commercialization director at Oregon BEST, Ken Vaughn. He said scientists have long worked to use solar energy to purify water.

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