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AP - Oregon-Northwest

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

RAIL TRAIL-HOMEOWNERS

Officials want docks, fences removed for Seattle-area trail

SEATTLE (AP) — Officials want the owners of about 150 properties along a Washington state lake to remove docks, boat lifts, decks, driveways, fences, landscaping and other amenities that stand in the way of completing a long-anticipated paved trail through the area. King County sent letters this week to the property owners along the East Lake Sammamish Trail, east of Seattle, telling them to remove any personal property by September so that construction can begin as planned next year. The county said that if the homeowners don’t, it will _ and it may charge them for it.

PLASTIC BAG BAN

Plastic bag ban passes Washington Senate again

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Senate has once again approved a measure to ban single-use plastic bags. The chamber voted 30-19 Wednesday to re-pass the measure it first passed during last year’s legislative session. The bill now heads to the House, where it stalled last year. The bill would ban stores from giving out single-use plastic carryout bags and require an 8-cent charge for other bags handed out.

CRABBING BOAT-THREE RESCUED

Crab fishermen survive harrowing capsize off Oregon coast

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Three men were in good condition early Wednesday after being cut from inside the hull of a capsized crab boat off the Oregon coast. Their harrowing rescue was caught on video the night before.  The 38-foot Pacific Miner was flipped upside-down by large waves late Tuesday and then got caught on rocks in a jetty in Coos Bay.  A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spotted the vessel and launched a rescue. Local fire firefighters cut through the ship’s hull with saws and pulled the men out. A bait shop owner who posted video of the rescue says it was a miracle the boat didn’t wash out to sea. 

MICROSOFT-HOUSING CRISIS FUND

Microsoft: $250M more for affordable housing in Seattle area

SEATTLE (AP) — One year after Microsoft announced it was committing $500 million toward affordable housing in the Seattle area, it’s upping that by half. Jane Broom, the company’s senior director of philanthropies, said in a blog post Wednesday the additional $250 million will provide a line of credit to help the Washington State Finance Commission finance about 3,000 additional units of  affordable housing. The company says its encouraged by the momentum for addressing homelessness in the region, but that it remains a serious challenge. 

PACIFIC NORTHWEST-WINTER STORMS-SNOWPACK

Snowstorms boost anemic snowpack in Oregon in just 2 weeks

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Widespread snowstorms have boosted Oregon’s previously anemic snow pack to almost normal levels statewide in just two weeks. The biggest improvements in what is called “snow-water equivalent” are in the Hood, Sandy and Lower Deschutes basins. Those areas were at 26% of normal on Dec. 30 and are now at 90% of normal. Last year saw something similar unfold in Oregon. Snowpack was lagging then as well, but a series of storms hit in February that boosted the snow-water equivalent. Snowpack is a crucial source of water for farms, especially in Eastern Oregon.

SEX DISCRIMINATION-LAWSUIT

Ex-sheriff’s office employee files discrimination suit

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — A former staff assistant has filed a federal lawsuit against the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office and her former supervisor alleging sex discrimination and retaliation. The Astorian reports Kimberly Losada of Naselle, Washington, resigned from her job in August after nearly 15 years with the Parole and Probation Division. In a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland, she alleges that Lt. Kristen Hanthorn, who leads the division, subjected her to bullying, harassment, discrimination and retaliation based on her sex. Hanthorn and the county declined to comment on the lawsuit.

NORTHWEST STORM

Northwest hit with more snow, wind, power outages, 2 rescued

SKYKOMISH, Wash. (AP) — Snowfall around the Northwest has continued, dropping over a foot on parts of the Olympic Peninsula Wednesday and resulting in the rescue Tuesday of a stranded couple southwest of Mt. Bachelor in Oregon. The Seattle metro area didn’t see much new snow Wednesday but many schools, including those in Seattle, remain delayed or closed because of lingering snow and ice. Over 20,000 customers were without power Wednesday afternoon as high winds blew in. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the state Emergency Management Division brought food, water and fuel to people between Gold Bar and Skykomish, where U.S. Highway 2 has been closed for days because of downed trees and power lines.

SALMON HATCHERY-TRIBE

Tribes break ground on hatchery that aims to restore salmon

MILTON-FREEWATER, Ore. (AP) — The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation has broke ground on a long-awaited hatchery in the Walla Wall River basin. During a ground-breaking event at the South Fork Walla Walla Chinook salmon spawning facility outside Milton-Freewater,  Tribal Board of Trustees Vice Chair Jeremy Wolf said at the ceremony last week that the spring Chinook hatchery, a more than $20 million project funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, is anticipated to open in the spring of 2021.

TRAIN-FATAL

Train strikes, killes pedestrian near Sumner

SUMNER, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a pedestrian was hit by a train and killed Wednesday morning on the tracks north of Sumner. KOMO reports the fatal accident is causing major delays for people who use the Sounder South train. Sound Transit is recommending that commuters take the bus or use other alternative transportation. An investigation into the death continues.

NORPAC FACILITIES SALE

Cold storage company purchases NORPAC plants

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The $49 million sale of NORPAC Foods’ Salem, Brooks and Stayton processing facilities to cold storage giant Lineage Logistics has been approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Peter McKittrick. The approval is contingent on agreements being reached concerning previous union contracts. The Statesman Journal reports the sale marks the end of the nearly 100-year-old Willamette Valley agricultural processor. Most of the intangible assets of NORPAC, including its intellectual property, trade names, inventory, contracts and trademarks, were sold as part of a $107 million sale of NORPAC’s Quincy, Washington, processing plant to Oregon Potato Company in December.

The Associated Press