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AP - Oregon-Northwest

Latest Oregon news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. PST

OBIT-TRIBAL ELDER

Oldest member of Oregon’s Takelma tribe dead at 95

ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) — Agnes Baker Pilgrim, the eldest member and the public face of southern Oregon’s Takelma tribe, has died.

Southern Oregon University, which recently awarded Pilgrim a presidential medal, said she died Wednesday in Grants Pass at age 95.

The university says Pilgrim died as doctors tried to repair a brain aneurysm.

Pilgrim, known as “Grandma Aggie,” was a vocal lifelong advocate for tribal and women’s rights and environmental causes.

SOU President Linda Schott says Pilgrim graduated at age 61 from SOU, where she studied psychology and Native American studies.

Pilgrim co-founded SOU’s Konaway Nika Tillicum Native American Youth Academy for Native American middle and high school students and brought the Takelma tribe’s sacred salmon ceremony back to southern Oregon.

Her likeness is featured in a statue in downtown Ashland.

WASHINGTON SHOOTING

Family: 3 kids in car when woman killed in shooting

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The family of a Vancouver woman who was fatally shot by her estranged husband as she sat in a car in an elementary school parking lot is providing more details on the tragedy.

In a posting Wednesday on the website Go Fund Me, Tabitha Ojeda says her sister, Tiffany Hill, was with their mother and Hill’s three children on Tuesday when she was killed outside Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School.

Hill’s mother was shot three times but is expected to survive. The children were not injured.

Police have said Hill had an active restraining order against her husband, Keland Hill, and he had just posted bail in the case.

Keland Hill fatally shot himself after a short police chase.

The children will be taken in by Tiffany Hill’s sisters.

CHRISTMAS TREES-TIGHT SUPPLY

Christmas tree prices remain high amid low supply

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Experts in Oregon, the nation’s No. 1 supplier of Christmas trees, say prices for a holiday evergreen will remain higher this year due to a tight supply.

Chad Landgren, with Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, says there are 400 fewer Oregon growers than there were 15 years ago and land once used for Christmas trees is now being used for less labor intensive crops. Many tree farms went out of business about a decade ago.

On average, consumers paid $78 for a tree in 2018, up $3 from 2017.

There are 383 licensed Christmas tree growers in Oregon who sell about 4.6 million trees a year.

Most of those trees are sold in the Pacific Northwest, California, Nevada and Arizona.

Mexico is the top international importer of Oregon trees.

MAN ARRESTED-DEATH

Autopsy clears Salem police in death of man during arrest

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An autopsy has found that a man who died after a struggle with Salem police suffered from a cardiac arrhythmia caused by a pre-existing heart condition.

The Marion County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday ruled the death as accidental.

Prosecutors say the Oregon State Medical Examiner found that Allen Pitts’ heart condition was exacerbated by his struggle with officers.

They say the officers used an electric stun gun and wrestled with him for seven minutes before making an arrest.

Police were called to a restaurant after Pitts threatened to kill the manager and refused to leave.

Pitts stopped breathing shortly after he was handcuffed and later died at a hospital.

Oregon State Police investigated the case.

WOLF DELISTING UPHELD

Oregon Court of Appeals upholds wolf delisting

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Court of Appeals has dismissed a lawsuit filed by environmental groups challenging the state’s decision to lift endangered species protections for gray wolves.

The Capital Press reported Thursday that the appeals panel has tossed the complaint.

State wildlife officials removed wolves from Oregon’s endangered species list in 2015 and lawmakers passed a bill backing that move in 2016.

Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild and the Center for Biological Diversity sued, arguing the delisting was premature and not based on sound science.

The appeals court says the legislative bill makes the environmentalists’ lawsuit irrelevant.

Wolves are still federally protected as an endangered species in western Oregon.

Ranchers have long argued they need to be able to kill wolves that make a habit of preying on livestock.

SEATTLE-WTO ANNIVERSARY

Seattle’s WTO trade protests still relevant 20 years later

SEATTLE (AP) — Saturday marks 20 years since tens of thousands of protesters converged on Seattle and disrupted a major meeting of the World Trade Organization.

Officials from 135 nations had gathered in Seattle for a conference intended to launch a new round of talks to reduce trade barriers.

The city had lobbied to host the meeting because Washington is one of the nation’s most trade-dependent states, with Boeing planes, Microsoft software and agricultural products like apples and cherries making up significant exports.

The protesters’ message was amplified not just by their vast numbers but by the response of overwhelmed police, who fired tear gas and plastic bullets and arrested nearly 600 people.

Two decades later, many of their causes are still relevant.

WINTRY WEATHER

Snow, winds slow after tangling traffic, threatening parade

Wintry weather temporarily loosened its grip across much of the U.S. just in time for Thanksgiving, after tangling holiday travelers in wind, ice and snow and before more major storms descend Friday.

Exceptions existed, particularly involving California’s main north-south Highway 5, which was shut down early Thursday as heavy snow softly blanketed the region.

But high winds that had ripped a wooden sign from scaffolding on Chicago’s Willis Tower on Wednesday were calm enough by Thursday morning to allow the Macy’s Day Parade in New York to proceed.

The National Weather Service predicted things could get dicey for holiday travelers’ trips home. Heavy mountain snow and high winds were forecast across much of the West. They were expected to move over the Rockies Friday and bring blizzard conditions Saturday.

CHILD SEX ABUSE-SENTENCE

Astoria man found guilty of child molestation gets 42 years

(Information from: The Daily Astorian, )

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — An Astoria man found guilty of child sexual abuse has been sentenced to 42 years in prison.

The Astorian reports jurors found 48-year-old Larry Leach guilty of four counts of rape, four counts of sexual abuse and two counts of using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct.

Leach was indicted on the charges in April 2018.

Prosecutors say while working in Astoria, Leach became friends with the victim’s family. Prosecutors say his abuse started when the victim was 7 and continued for four years.

The victim said during trial that she decided to tell her grandmother what was happening because she “didn’t want to be afraid anymore.”

Leach pleaded his innocence throughout the trial and during sentencing.

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The Associated Press