Trump administration slashes imperiled spotted owls’ habitat
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Trump administration has slashed millions of acres of protected habitat for the imperiled northern spotted owl in Oregon, Washington and northern California. Much of the land is in prime timber locations in Oregon’s coastal ranges. Environmentalists on Wednesday accused the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Donald Trump of taking a parting shot at protections designed to help restore the species in favor of the timber industry. Timber groups have applauded the decision and say more logging in forests is necessary to prevent wildfires. The spotted owl is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and has lost nearly 4% of its population each year.
Oregon surpasses 1,700 coronavirus related deaths
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon has surpassed 1,700 coronavirus related deaths since the start of the pandemic. The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,346 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 41 additional deaths Wednesday, bringing the total amount of cases to 129,109 and raising the death toll to 1,708. Nearly 15,000 new doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been added to the state’s immunization registry. To date, more than 320,000 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon, including at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem where the National Guard is helping administer doses. Brown, who visited the mass vaccination site Wednesday, said up to 3,000 people receive a dose of the vaccine a day at the site, calling it an “extraordinary effort.”
Australia to kill pigeon that crossed Pacific from Oregon
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 8,000-mile Pacific Ocean crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird says he discovered the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard in December had disappeared from a race in Oregon two months earlier. Experts suspect the pigeon, named Joe after the president-elect, hitched a ride on a cargo ship. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention of Australian media but also of the notoriously strict quarantine authorities. Celli-Bird says they asked him to catch the bird because they considered it a disease risk. He says the American Pigeon Union confirmed it was registered to an owner in Montgomery, Alabama.
Oregon lawmaker faces outcry after state Capitol breach
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Sixteen days before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and nearly 2,900 miles away, an eerily similar incident occurred at the Oregon Capitol when 50 protesters breached the building — where lawmakers were working — and clashed with law enforcement. Security video shows an Oregon Republican lawmaker had physically opened the Capitol’s door — letting protesters gain access to the building. Oregon lawmakers called for the resignation of Rep. Mike Nearman of Independence ahead of the upcoming Legislative session that begins next week. The legal consequences that Nearman, one of the chamber’s most conservative Republicans, might face are still unfolding. He did not return an email seeking comment.
CAPITOL BREACH-OREGON PROTESTS
Oregon National Guard activated for possible protests
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown has activated the Oregon National Guard because of possible violence at the state Capitol and elsewhere following the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol last week by a pro-Trump mob. The Oregon State Police said in a statement Wednesday the guard would be deployed as necessary and their deployment locations wouldn’t be made public. The Capitol in Salem, Oregon, has seen near weekly protests since November’s elections, and some have turned violent. Federal authorities have warned of possible unrest in all 50 state capitols this weekend and into next week.
Northwest storm kills 1, causes landslide and power outages
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A powerful wind storm has rolled through the Pacific Northwest, killing one person and leaving a trail of damage. The storm nearly blew a tractor-trailer off a bridge in Washington state, caused a landslide in Oregon and left more than 500,000 people in the two states without power. Officials say a 50-year-old motorist believed to be caught in a landslide was missing. In Oregon, residents in the community of Dodson were told to evacuate after the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning Wednesday morning. Officials say the death happened in Spokane when a tree fell on a woman in her car and trapped her.
POLICE PROTEST BODY CAMERAS
Judge considers ordering some police to wear body cameras
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge says he’s considering requiring Portland police armed with less-lethal launchers wear body cameras during protests, receive training every six months and explain why they pulled the trigger each time in reports that are made public. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez said he also wants the city to find ways to rotate Rapid Response Team officers for protest assignments so the Police Bureau doesn’t have an operator of a less-lethal weapon on the street “night after night after night.” These ideas are among remedies he’s considering as court sanctions after finding Portland police in contempt of a June order that restricted the use of less-lethal munitions during protests.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-GYM FINE
Gym fined $127K for violating state coronavirus restrictions
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon has fined a Salem gym nearly $127,000 for repeatedly refusing to shut down in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Oregon Occupational Safety and Health announced Tuesday it had issued the fine to Capitol Racquet Sports for willfully refusing to comply with state health orders at one of its Courthouse Club Fitness locations in Salem. Courthouse Club didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the newspaper on Tuesday. The gym has 30 days to decide whether to appeal the fine. It has appealed previous sanctions totaling $90,000.