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Oregon

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.

For the last five weeks, Washington’s energy council has conducted a trial-like review of the Vancouver Energy Project. Those proceedings end with a public hearing Friday.

A judge has presided over what's known as the adjudicative portion of the energy council's review process. Proponents have been able to make their case for the oil terminal, while opponents have made their arguments too. There’s even been cross examinations as both sides have strived to depict the dangers or benefits of the oil terminal.

Oregon Timber Harvest Slips For 2nd Consecutive Year

Jul 25, 2016

Oregon’s timber harvest dropped 8 percent last year.

Before the great recession, Oregon was producing about 4 billion board feet of lumber a year. That dropped after the recession as people stopped building houses.

But it’s been climbing and for the last few years it’s been above 4 billion board feet again, thanks in part to a strong Chinese economy.

Oregon Bottle Deposit Set To Double Next Year

Jul 22, 2016

The bottle deposit rate in Oregon will double next year from 5 to 10 cents. Officials are trying to boost return rates, which have been slowly falling since Oregon became the first state to pass a bottle bill in 1971.

The law required a 5-cent deposit on certain drink containers, which is returned when people bring back containers. The results were immediate. Oregon achieved a 90 percent return rate, reducing litter and the number of containers in landfills significantly.

Three days after its launch, BIKETOWN, Portland's new bike share program sponsored by Nike, had 1,381 people sign up for annual memberships and 2,237 people buy a day pass or single ride users.

Both of these numbers have exceeded expectations for the first few days of the program, said Dani Simons, director of communications and external affairs for Motivate, BIKETOWN's operating company.

Oregonians will vote on an initiative that aims to increase the state's high school graduation rate. The Oregon Secretary of State's office announced Thursday that supporters of IP 65 had gathered enough valid signatures for the measure to appear on the November ballot.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out a subpoena that would have given the FBI access to personal emails sent by former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. A three-judge panel ruled Wednesday that the subpoena was "unreasonably overbroad."

Some Oregon corporations will likely change their structure and behavior to lessen the impact of a tax hike headed for the November ballot. That's according to a report from revenue analysts at the Oregon Legislature.

Court documents show the timber industry is footing the bill for Linn County’s $1.4 billion lawsuit over logging in Oregon state forests.

The county is suing the state on the grounds it has failed to maximize revenue from state-owned forestland.

The lawsuit claims the state is contractually required to allow more logging on state forestland to ensure funding for counties that deeded the land over to the state more than 70 years ago.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture says it found no evidence of chemical drift after responding to an exposure complaint from a former member of the state’s Board of Forestry.

The agency opened an investigation after Peter Hayes of Washington County forest company Hyla Woods complained he and workers were exposed to weed killer sprayed on a nearby tree farm operated by Stimson Lumber.

Vegetation samples on Hyla Woods property taken by state investigators showed no evidence that chemicals had drifted from Stimson’s tree farm, which is more than a half-mile away.

The National Transportation Safety Board has responded to letter from Oregon’s senators about why it did not investigate last month’s oil train derailment in the Columbia River Gorge, saying its limited staff likely would not have gleaned any new safety recommendations from examining the incident.

The federal agency provided a 50-page response to Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, saying it “recognizes the impact of this accident on your constituents and understands the concerns of those affected.”

Oregon voters may get the chance to ban the sale of items made from certain wildlife species this November. Backers of an initiative that would do just that submitted signatures Thursday in an attempt to get their measure on the November ballot.

Several Portland factories are in the public eye this month as Oregon regulators take public comment on new rules for making art glass.

Their process involves some heavy metals. Untill now, those emissions have gone mostly unfiltered.

While the state Department of Environmental Quality is working out a permanent system of rules, there’s still a long list of people with unanswered questions about the art glass business and human health.

One of the names at the top of that list is Jess Beebe. She got some unwelcome news from the lab this spring.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the Wassen Pond Fire in Wasco County.

The fire has burned about 300 acres and is threatening nearby homes and structures.

A level-2 pre-evacuation notice was issued Monday to some residents.

The emergency declaration will allow additional resources to support the effort to contain the fire.

Tens of thousands of Oregonians will get a raise Friday when the state's minimum wage goes up for the first time in 18 months.

 Oregon lawmakers will try once again next year to round up support for a major transportation funding package. Their most recent attempt got sidelined amid a dispute over a separate bill. As part of the effort to craft a new next version, a legislative committee is touring the state to try to figure out what to include.

More than a dozen organizations are calling on the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to stop renewing air pollution permits until a new set of rules are in place.

The state is in the process of setting new limits on air pollution to protect human health after testing revealed numerous toxic hot spots around Portland – including unhealthy levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead near the Bullseye Glass facility.

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