Oregon city hires consultant to probe police racial bias
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland, Oregon, has hired a California consulting firm to investigate whether the culture of the city’s police force includes racial or political bias and to examine complaints that the agency is resistant to change. The city hired the independent OIR Group after someone leaked police and dispatch reports that incorrectly identified a city councilwoman as the suspect in a hit-and-run accident. Jo Ann Hardesty, who is the city’s first Black woman elected to City Council, has been a fierce advocate for police reform for years and has backed efforts to cut police funding amid racial injustice protests over George Floyd’s killing.
168 people in Oregon got COVID-19 even after vaccinations
Of more than 700,000 people in Oregon who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 168 still tested positive for the virus and three died. The Oregon Health Authority says that while the vaccines are all highly effective, no vaccine is 100% effective. Vaccine breakthrough cases are instances in which a person received a positive COVID-19 test result at least 14 days after the final dose of any COVID-19 vaccine series. Many of the vaccinated people who tested positive for COVID-19 experienced asymptomatic infection. None of the vaccine breakthrough cases were associated with a COVID-19 variant.
SEA TURTLE DECLINE
Steep decline in giant sea turtles seen off US West Coast
MONTEREY, Calif. (AP) — Leatherback sea turtles have been plying the world’s oceans for tens of millions of years, but scientists say a rapid decline in their numbers means they could disappear from U.S. West Coast waters within decades. All seven distinct populations of leatherbacks in the world are troubled, but a new study shows an 80% population drop in just 30 years for one extraordinary sub-group that migrates 7,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to feed on jellyfish in cold waters off California. Scientists say international fishing and the harvest of eggs from nesting beaches in the western Pacific are to blame.
CHILD MISTREATMENT SENTENCE
Woman convicted of mistreatment involving 4-year-old child
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — A woman in southern Oregon was convicted for her role in a case of neglect involving a 4-year-old child. The Herald and News reports Lori Meeks and Matthew Oakley were arrested in March after the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office said the pair was keeping a 4-year-old child confined in their Klamath Falls home and was mistreating the child. Meeks was convicted Wednesday of first-degree criminal mistreatment and sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years probation. According to Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello, “As a result of her care of this child, the child is severely delayed in developmental progress.” The case against Oakley is pending, and he is facing two counts of criminal mistreatment.
MEDICALLY ASSISTED SUICIDE LAW
New Mexico latest state to adopt medically assisted suicide
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed into law legislation legalizing medically assisted suicide. It’s the latest state to provide a pathway for terminally ill patients to end their lives with lethal medication. The law requires patients to be given six months or less to live by two medical professionals, be of sound mind, and be able to take the drug themselves. Opponents fear diagnoses could be mistaken and insurance companies could cover medically assisted suicide instead of more expensive cures to an illness. New Mexico is the second state after New Jersey with a third or more of its population identifying as Catholic to legalize medically assisted suicide. Oregon passed the first such law in 1997.
Albany school district to pause police greeting tradition
ALBANY, Ore. (AP) — Students in Albany public schools will no longer be greeted by police officers on the first day of school after some students and their families expressed fear and anxiety because of the officers’ presence last week. The Albany Democrat-Herald reports rumors circulating on social media prompted superintendent Melissa Goff to release a statement Wednesday addressing the district’s decision to at least temporarily discontinue the tradition. Goff said the lack of officers assigned to campuses, often called school resource officers, is unrelated to the decision and was a result of shortfalls in Albany’s city budget and staffing challenges in the Albany Police Department.
WASHINGTON LEGISLATURE-3 STRIKES
Washington Legislature revises 3-strikes sentencing law
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Legislature has passed a bill to resentence as many as 114 people serving life without parole under the state’s three-strikes law. The Seattle Times reports Senate Bill 5164 affects those who “struck out” at least in part because of a second-degree robbery conviction, relating to a crime that generally involves no weapon or physical injury. While such a conviction will no longer be considered a strike, whether people will remain in prison for some length of time would depend on what a judge decides based on the sentencing range for their convictions.
Biden halts sale of National Archives center in Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) — The Biden administration has halted the sale of the federal archives building in Seattle, following months of opposition from people across the Pacific Northwest and a lawsuit by the Washington Attorney General’s Office. Sen. Patty Murray said in a news release Thursday that the federal Office of Management and Budget had withdrawn its approval for the sale, which would have forced the transfer of millions of records to facilities in Kansas City, Missouri, and Riverside, California. A federal judge had already blocked the sale. Among the records at the center are tribal, military, land, court, tax and census documents.