Oregon girl dead, boy missing after being swept into ocean
CANNON BEACH, Ore. (AP) — A 7-year-old girl is dead and her 4-year-old brother is missing after they and their father were swept into the ocean on the Oregon coast amid a high-surf warning. Authorities say the father was holding the two children when a wave swept all three into the water at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the Falcon Cove area, south of the community of Cannon Beach. Oregon State Police say 47-year-old Jeremy Stiles of Portland and the girl were taken to Providence Seaside Hospital, while the Coast Guard deployed helicopters to help search for the boy. The girl was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Seattle, Portland under winter weather advisory for snow
SEATTLE (AP) — The Pacific Northwest’s first major storm of the season has reached the Seattle area but the city’s weather woes may have only just begun. The National Weather Service on Sunday issued a winter weather advisory for both the Seattle and Portland metro areas in effect through the Monday morning commute. Snow began hitting the ground Sunday afternoon in Seattle, which could see up to 2 inches of snow and very slippery road conditions. Other parts of Oregon are also facing severe weather, including beach hazards like sneaker waves out on the coast and avalanche warnings on Mount Hood.
Port of Olympia settles lawsuit over storm water for $1.3M
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Port of Olympia has agreed to pay more than $1.3 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act at the port’s marine terminal. The Olympian reported the port and Waste Action Project of Covington settled the 2017 lawsuit that claimed the port was discharging polluted storm water into Budd Inlet. The agreement also lays out corrective action including installation of a curb to prevent storm water discharge at the marine terminal and restrictions related to loading logs. The port commission voted unanimously to approve the settlement last week.
LEGISLATURE-THINGS TO WATCH
Homelessness among issues to watch in Washington Legislature
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s 60-day legislative session begins in Olympia, where lawmakers have to pass a supplemental state budget and are expected to address several other issues, including homelessness. After the Legislature convenes Monday, a new speaker of the House will be sworn in. Democratic Rep. Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma will be the first woman and first gay speaker in the state. Lawmakers also are taking into account the impacts of Initiative 976, which is on hold for now due to a legal challenge. That measure lowered annual vehicle registration to $30 and largely revoked the authority of state and local governments to add taxes and fees without voter approval.
CHINOOK SALMON-HARVEST CLOSED
State officials close Chinook salmon harvest in Oregon river
ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed the harvest of wild spring Chinook salmon in the Umpqua River. The Roseburg News-Review reported the agency has prohibited the harvest on the mainstem Umpqua River from Feb. 1 to June 30. Officials say the primary reason is a low fish count over the past two years. Officials hope to preserve the vulnerable species they say has been impacted in recent years by drought conditions that have reduced river flow and increased water temperatures. The temporary rule change still requires the approval of Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno.
Forceful winds, heavy snow in forecast for Pacific Northwest
SEATTLE (AP) — Drivers, skiers, university students and beach-goers are all facing widespread warnings about forceful winds, snow dumps and freezing temperatures as the region’s first major winter storm of the season hits the Pacific Northwest. Both the Seattle and Portland metro areas are bracing for a possible round of snow in the coming days that will be coupled with below-freezing temperatures. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for the Seattle metro area in effect Sunday afternoon through evening, forecasting between a trace to 4 inches of snow. Meteorologists also predict snow for Portland by Wednesday.
OREGON GAS PROJECT
NOAA: Minimal impact on wildlife in proposed gas project
COOS BAY, Ore. (AP) — Federal authorities suggested the environmental impact of a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline in southern Oregon would be minimal. They say the contentious project wouldn’t jeopardize protected species or adversely change their critical habitat. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a new study that the affects of the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas terminal and a 230-mile feeder pipeline along Coos Bay would be short term or on a small scale. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s staff analysis announced in November said the project would likely have an adverse affect on wildlife.
Lawmaker slams report labeling him a ‘domestic terrorist’
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A right-wing lawmaker from Washington state says that a recent report that branded him a ‘’domestic terrorist” is a lie and that he will continue to represent the people of his district. Democrats and some Republicans have called for state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, to resign in the wake of a December report involving anti-government activities. Shea has refused to resign. He issued a statement on Friday saying he will be in the chamber when the state House convenes its 2020 session on Monday. The report was done by the Rampart Group, a Seattle-based private investigation agency.
Watchdog: Officer’s ruse contributed to suspect’s suicide
SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Police Department’s civilian watchdog has found that an officer’s ruse in a 2018 hit-and-run case contributed to the driver’s suicide. The Office of Police Accountability said that to get the suspect to turn himself in, the officer told one of the suspect’s friends that the crash left a woman in critical condition. In reality, it was a fender-bender with no injuries. The man became despondent over the possibility he killed someone and soon died by suicide. The OPA said the use of the ruse “shocked the conscience.” The officer was suspended for six days without pay.
TUNNEL TOLLS-DRIVERS OVERCHARGED
65K drivers erroneously charged for Seattle tunnel tolls
SEATTLE (AP) — Transportation officials in Washington state have started to give refunds to about 65,000 drivers who were erroneously charged when traveling through tunnel tolls in Seattle. KOMO-TV reported Friday that the state Department of Transportation confirmed technical issues caused tolling equipment in the tunnel on State Route 99 to charge a 25-cent photo-enforced fee on one or more trips. Officials say drivers with a “Good to Go” pass who traveled through the tunnel from Nov. 9 to Dec. 31 will be automatically credited 25 cents. Department officials say they expect to refund $70,000.