Lawmakers return Aug. 10 for session to deal with deficit
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown will call lawmakers back to the Capitol beginning Aug. 10 to try to fill a billion-dollar budget hole due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Business closures have caused tax revenues to plunge and legislators need to deal with a more than $1 billion budget deficit for the current two-year spending plan. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that under a framework released earlier this month, that could involve closing two state prisons. Also, a special committee charged with looking into police reforms following the killing of George Floyd has been working on measures that could bolster limits on tear gas and chokeholds and change the system by which police discipline cases are settled.
Portland, Oregon, protests relatively calm after US drawdown
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The first nightly protest in Portland, Oregon, since a deal was struck for federal agents to withdraw from the city was largely peaceful after state troopers took over protecting a federal courthouse. The demonstrations that started Thursday night and stretched into early Friday were in sharp contrast to two weeks of violent clashes between protesters and the federal agents sent to Portland by President Donald Trump. State and local officers stepped up their presence as part of a deal forged with Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. At the latest protest, hundreds of demonstrators gathered to listen to speeches about a block from the courthouse, with little sign of a law enforcement presence.
US officials seek limits on “habitat” for imperiled species
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration is proposing to restrict what land and water can be declared as “habitat” for imperiled plants and animals. The move could potentially exclude areas that species could use in the future. The proposal obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its public release for the first time defines habitat for purposes of enforcing the Endangered Species Act. That could have broad implications on how far the government must go to protect plants and animals sliding toward extinction. Legal observers said the two-sentence definition would restrict the areas that officials can designate as critical to the surival of species.
US: Snake River dams will not be removed to save salmon
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. government says four huge dams on the Snake River in Washington state will not be removed to help endangered salmon migrate to the ocean. Friday’s announcement thwarts the desires of environmental groups that fought for two decades to breach the structures.The Final Environmental Impact Statement was issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration, and sought to balance the needs of salmon and other interests.The plan calls for spilling more water over the dams at strategic times to help fish migrate faster to and from the ocean.
Nike’s layoffs in Oregon will total at least 500
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nike has filed documents with the state of Oregon that show its recently announced layoffs will eliminate at least 500 jobs at the company’s world headquarters near Beaverton. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the company announced the downsizing July 22 after disclosing a rare money-losing quarter in June. But it has not yet divulged the actual number of job cuts. The number of layoffs worldwide will be much higher than the 500 in Oregon losing their jobs. Last week, Nike said the cuts will result in termination costs of $200 million to $250 million.
Men accused in assault of Bend protester charged
BEND, Ore. (AP) — Two men allegedly involved in the assault of a protester at a July 11 racial justice rally in Bend have been charged. The Bulletin reports Robert Thompson was charged this week with menacing and other charges. Darrell Goddard has been charged with assault and criminal mischief. The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office says Thompson and Goddard were driving past the rally when one of them yelled a “homophobic epithet.” District Attorney John Hummel says protester Andrew Heller biked after the truck, asking why they yelled that. Goddard is accused of opening his door into Heller and punching him while Thompson pointed a gun at him. Neither has a lawyer yet to comment for them.
Protesters vary as much as their arrests, AP analysis shows
Those arrested during protests in Portland, Oregon, are self-described parents, Black Lives Matter activists and people taking advantage of the nightly chaos. An Associated Press analysis of more than 200 arrests shows that even those accused of breaking the law during the nightly rallies don’t neatly fit into President Donald Trump’s depiction of protesters as “anarchists and agitators.” The analysis of court documents, social media posts and other public records from people arrested since mid-June reveals a group whose motives are as varied as the acts leading to their arrests. Most were local and had no criminal record in Oregon. Many appear to be college students.
California governor asks Warren Buffett to back dam removal
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom has appealed directly to investor Warren Buffett to support demolishing four hydroelectric dams on a river along the Oregon-California border to save salmon populations that have dwindled to almost nothing. Newsom on Wednesday wrote Buffett, urging him to back the Klamath River project, which would be the largest dam removal in U.S. history. The dams are owned by PacificCorp, an Oregon-based utility owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. PacifiCorp agreed to transfer its hydroelectric licenses to a nonprofit corporation. But two weeks ago, federal regulators required the utility to remain on board, threatening the deal.