Oregon governor calls for breaching 4 Snake River dams
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s governor is in favor of removing four hydroelectric dams on the Snake River in Washington state. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, sent a letter to Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee this week, saying she believes it is the best way to increase endangered salmon runs. The Tri-City Herald reported the letter outraged Washington state’s three Republican U.S. House members, who want to keep the dams. The dams generate electricity, provide some irrigation and flood control and allow barges to operate all the way to Lewiston, Idaho. But they are also blamed for killing salmon and steelhead that are migrating to the ocean or back to their spawning grounds.
Woman arrested on suspicion of trying to steal baby
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington woman and her teenage daughter are suspected of drugging a new mother after posing as photographers in an elaborate plot to kidnap the mother’s newborn baby. Detectives for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department arrested a 38-year-old woman and her 16-year-old daughter who they say both went to the mother’s home after advertising free baby photos. Police say they gave a cupcake to the victim, who felt drowsy after eating it and ordered the two to leave. Investigators say evidence suggests the woman was was planning to steal a newborn baby to raise as her own.
US agency to pay for 11,000 miles of fuel breaks in 6 states
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management has announced plans to fund 11,000 miles of strategic fuel breaks in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah in an effort to help control wildfires. Fuel breaks are intended to create breaks in vegetation that slow a blaze’s progress and help protect firefighters, communities and natural resources. The Oregonian reported Saturday that wildfires are becoming bigger and more frequent across the Great Basin states. Between 2009 and 2018, more than 13.5 million acres of BLM land burned in the project area. Some scientists debate the effectiveness of fuel breaks, raising questions about whether these efforts are worth funding.
Washington Senate approves data privacy rules
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Senate has passed a data privacy measure that would give consumers the right to manage how their information held by private companies is used. The measure is called the Washington Privacy Act and passed on a bipartisan 46-1 vote. It would require businesses or other entities that control or process the identifiable data of more than 100,000 people to allow consumers to find out what data is stored about them, correct errors or request deletion. It would also allow people the right to opt out of their data being used for the purposes of targeted advertising, and to opt out of the sale of their personal data. It now heads to the House for consideration.
Main Mount Rainier highway to be closed for weeks
Authorities say the main highway to Mount Rainier National Park will remain closed until mid-March or possibly longer due to the extensive damage caused by flooding, washouts, landslides and fallen trees during recent heavy rains. KOMO reports that State Route 706, which passes through the town of Ashford and leads to the national park’s historic Nisqually Entrance, was essentially wiped out east of Ashford and crews were initially unable to start clearing slide damage due to ongoing flooding. But by Thursday, the overflows had receded and construction crews began bringing in large equipment to clear the slide debris covering the highway.
PUBLIC RECORDS-BIRTH DATES
House approves carve out for media on birth date disclosure
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington House on Friday passed a bill that exempts birth dates of state and local government employees from disclosure under the state’s public records law, but allows the media to continue to have access to them. The chamber passed the bill on a 91-7 vote. It now heads to the Senate for consideration. The bill is in response to an October ruling by the state Supreme Court that said birth dates of state employees are public records that are subject to disclosure. Advocates of the measure say that it is needed to protect state employees from identity theft, stalkers, and others who may want to target them at home. But advocates for open government say the media should not be treated differently than other citizens.
Police: Vancouver homeowner shoots kills burglar
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a man was shot and killed while breaking into a home in Vancouver, Washington.KOIN reports that police responded about 10:20 p.m. Thursday. Police said they got reports that an unknown man broke into a family’s home while they were inside. The homeowner confronted the suspected burglar with a gun — eventually shooting and killing him. The suspected burglar was pronounced dead at the scene. The homeowner and his family were not injured. An investigation continues.
BORDER PATROL-BUS CHECKS
AP Exclusive: Agency memo contradicts Greyhound on bus raids
SEATTLE (AP) — A Customs and Border Protection memo obtained by The Associated Press confirms that bus companies such as Greyhound do not have to allow Border Patrol agents on board to conduct routine checks for immigrants living in the country illegally. That’s contrary to Greyhound’s long insistence that it has no choice but to let the agents on board. Immigrant rights activists say the memo gives them additional leverage as they pressure Greyhound to stop allowing sweeps. Greyhound told the AP it appreciated the Border Patrol “clarifying” its policy. It declined to say whether it would prohibit agents from boarding its buses.
Sports gambling bill passes Washington state House
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill allowing sports gambling in Washington’s tribal casinos was approved by the state House. The 83-14 Thursday night vote on House Bill 2638 came just two days after a House Appropriations Committee agreed to forward it onward. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, said Tuesday he’d hoped to get a floor vote as early as next week so a similar vote on a companion Senate bill could occur before a March 13 deadline.
Oregon landfill took 2M pounds of radioactive fracking waste
ARLINGTON, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a chemical waste landfill in Oregon near the Columbia River has been accepting hundreds of tons of radioactive fracking waste from North Dakota in violation of Oregon regulations. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Oregon Department of Energy officials a violation notice to Chemical Waste Management for its landfill near the small town of Arlington on Thursday for accepting 2 million pounds of Bakken oil field waste delivered by rail in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Arlington is about 140 miles east of Portland. News about the waste has alarmed environmental advocates but state officials say the company won’t be fined because they believe operators misunderstood state guidelines.