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AP - Oregon-Northwest

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

OREGON-TRANSGENDER STUDENTS

Appeals court supports Oregon school’s transgender policy

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A federal appeals court says a school district near the Oregon state capital can allow transgender students to use locker rooms and bathrooms of the gender they identify with instead of their birth. Some parents and students at a high school in Dallas, Oregon, had filed the lawsuit in 2017, saying the policy caused embarrassment and stress. A lower court had previously ruled the school policy was permissible. That decision was affirmed Wednesday by the the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Similar lawsuits have been dismissed by courts in other parts of the country. 

STATE CUSTODY INFANT DEATH

Officials: Baby’s dies in state care, investigation underway

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon child welfare officials have confirmed that a 4-month-old infant died in the state’s custody Sunday. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Department of Human Services disclosed the baby’s death Tuesday, under a 2019 transparency law that requires state leaders to tell the public when a child on their radar dies by possible abuse or neglect. The agency did not provide specific information about the baby’s death, such as how or where the baby died. The agency said police are investigating the circumstances. Department of Human Services spokesman Jake Sunderland says case workers are still collecting information. He said although DHS was the baby’s legal guardian, the baby was not in general foster care.

ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES

Court: Clarno wrongly rejected environmental initiatives

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that Secretary of State Bev Clarno improperly rejected three proposed ballot measures dealing with environmental protections last year.  Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the three-judge panel on Wednesday concluded Clarno misinterpreted state law when she tossed the proposals.  At issue were three initiative petitions that proposed new policies for forest management in the state. Clarno rejected the measures in September, finding they did not meet a constitutional requirement that ballot measures deal with a single subject. In a statement she said she was disappointed in the ruling and considering her options.

POLICE RACISM-INVESTIGATION

DA to investigate West Linn cops handling of wrongful arrest

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote says the District Attorney’s Office will conduct a review of the wrongful arrest case of Portland resident Michael Fesser by West Linn police. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the county prosecutor’s office will look for any crimes committed in the county and also will determine if credibility concerns raised in the case about officers should trigger a so-called Brady notice, an obligation under the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brady v. Maryland that requires prosecutors to disclose to defense lawyers any material that could impeach the credibility of a government witness. West Linn recently agreed to pay Fesser $600,000 to settle his related federal civil lawsuit. 

WASHINGTON SHOOTING-VANCOUVER

Man accused in triple shooting at Vancouver apartments dies

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a resident who opened fire in the lobby of a Vancouver building for senior residents, killing a man and wounding two women in October, has died. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office says 80-year-old Robert Breck was taken from jail to an area hospital on Feb. 5 because of an illness. The sheriff’s office says Breck died Tuesday at the hospital of natural causes. Police say Breck killed 75-year-old Dean Tunstall and wounded 77-year-old Enelia Montoya and 44-year-old Shawne Garris in the Smith Tower Apartments lobby, then barricaded himself in his apartment before surrendering. Court documents say the shooting stemmed from a dispute Breck had with the man. 

REVENUE FORECAST

Forecast shows increased revenue for Oregon

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s budget picture is improving. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that a quarterly revenue forecast delivered by state economists Wednesday morning  shows the state is now expected to top $25 billion in the general fund and lottery revenue during the current budget biennium, which stretches to June 2021.  The updated figure includes a $183.4 million increase in the general fund and lottery resources over what economists predicted in December, and nearly $675 million more than predicted last June. The updated revenue picture comes as the Legislature considers a wide range of spending proposals in its legislative short session

FORESTRY BUDGET

Oregon Forestry agency says it will soon run out of money

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Officials at the Oregon Department of Forestry say just seven months into the state’s two-year budget cycle they’ve spent most of the money lawmakers approved for the entire biennium and now need an emergency cash infusion. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that agency officials say they need between $52 million to $132 million – otherwise they’ll have exhausted their budget by March. The request comes as lawmakers and the governor are looking to expand the agency even further. They’re sponsoring bills that would bolster the agency’s firefighting capabilities and forest restoration work – above and beyond the immediate budget requests.  

SIDEWALK ORDINANCE

Salem City Council revisits controversial sidewalk ordinance

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The City Council in Salem, Oregon, is debating an ordinance that would bar people from sitting and sleeping on city sidewalks.   The Statesman Journal reports the Council voted 5-4 Monday to craft a proposal and discuss sit-lie — and possibly vote on it — at their next meeting Feb. 24.  The move comes almost two months after a camping ban pushed dozens of homeless people into sleeping outside downtown businesses. Previously proposed ordinances aimed at stopping the homeless from camping on public sidewalks failed in both 2017 and 2019 after the Council received push back from the public.  

The Associated Press