Associated Press Regional News

FIVE RIVERS, Ore. (AP) – To help restore coho salmon in Benton County, fish biologists are turning to the fish’s bushy-tailed ally: beavers. The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports beavers are critical to coho habitat by giving young salmon cover while they bulk up before setting out to sea for a year or two. Beaver ponds are also critical for other species of salmon, including cutthroat and steelhead. To bring beavers back to the county, Oregon State University and governmental agencies are examining relocation efforts.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Portland police say they have arrested two protesters during an unpermitted Occupy Portland march this weekend. Officers say the arrests came Saturday night when they tried to shepherd demonstrators back onto a sidewalk after the crowd moved into the streets.  

SALEM, Ore. – Gov. John Kitzhaber meets tomorrow with officials from timber counties who will be hit hard in their budgets when a federal funding program goes away. With prospects appearing slim for Congress to renew the Secure Rural Schools Act, Kitzhaber wants to prepare for the prospect that a couple of Oregon’s rural counties could go broke, and others face big cutbacks, especially in law enforcement.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon taxpayers shelled out $1.2 million trying to execute two-time murderer Gary Haugen before Gov. John Kitzhaber gave him a reprieve last month. The Salem Statesman Journal says the money spent over five years includes legal bills of more than 850,000. Haugen had waived his appeals and agreed to be executed, and he called the governor a coward for canceling it.

 SALEM, Ore. (AP) – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden says he decided to work on a bipartisan deal to redesign Medicare because the issue can’t be ducked any longer. The Oregon Democrat’s proposal crafted with Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan would allow private companies to compete with the government’s Medicare system. The idea has drawn criticism from Democrats and the White House.

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) – A former Portland police officer says stress from an on-duty shooting prompted him to start committing sex crimes. Ryan Graichen, who served as an officer until 2006, is facing a likely 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to sex crimes in Benton County, Wash., Superior Court. The Tri-City Herald reports in a 49-page, handwritten letter to the Washington state Department of Corrections, Graichen says he became addicted to pornography as he tried to deal with the stress.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Hundreds of Alaskans have raised a total of more than $300,000 for Special Olympics Alaska by jumping into an icy Anchorage lake KTUU-TV reports more than 1,200 people participated in the Polar Plunge fundraiser at Goose Lake Saturday. Among those taking the plunge were Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew and a team of police officers. They raised $1,500.