AP-OR–2nd Right Now/1190
Judge: Plan for restoring Northwest salmon runs not enough
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Oregon says a massive habitat restoration effort doesn’t do enough to improve Northwest salmon runs.
U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon in Portland on Wednesday rejected the federal government’s plan for offsetting the damage that dams in the Columbia River Basin pose to the fish. He found that for the past 20 years, U.S. agencies have focused on trying to revive the salmon runs without hurting the generation of electricity.
He says those efforts “have already cost billions of dollars, yet they are failing.”
The ruling gives a major victory to conservationists and fishing businesses who hope to see four dams on the Snake River, a major tributary of the Columbia, breached to make way for the salmon. The state of Oregon and the Nez Perce Tribe were also among those who sued.
NATURAL GAS ACCIDENT
Regulators fault procedures in blast at natural gas facility
PLYMOUTH, Wash. (AP) — Federal and state regulators say the main cause of an explosion in 2014 at a southeastern Washington natural gas facility was inadequate procedures that allowed oxygen to remain in the system.
A pressure vessel ruptured at the Williams Northwest Pipeline facility in Plymouth, Washington, on March 31, 2014, injuring six employees and causing tens of millions of dollars in damage.
In a report released Wednesday the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said the mix of oxygen and gas ignited. Other factors investigators cited were procedures that lacked details for employees to follow and procedures that didn’t address the piping configuration and allowed oxygen to be trapped.
Two storage tanks hold up to 14 million gallons of liquid natural gas to meet peak winter demands on the pipeline that carries gas through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.
TIGARD FATAL SHOOTING
Man convicted of murder in death of girlfriend’s ex-husband
(Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man charged with gunning down his girlfriend’s ex-husband outside her Tigard home has been convicted of murder.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that 30-year-old Orlando Lee Pouncey was found guilty Wednesday of murder, unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Police say Pouncey fatally shot Jerry Duy Nguyen in January 2015 after the victim visited his ex-wife’s home to pick up his son.
The child was inside during the incident, but the child’s mother witnessed the shooting.
Pouncey’s attorney argued that Nguyen had threatened to kill his client and charged at him.
Pouncey faces life in prison when he’s sentenced June 3.
Oregon City woman found guilty in infant’s death
OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon City woman has been found guilty of causing the death of a 7-month-old boy who she had been babysitting.
Thirty-eight-year-old Sarah Martin was convicted of murder on Wednesday in the April 2015 death of Izaak Gillen.
Martin had been babysitting Gillen when paramedics responded to a call that the boy stopped breathing. The baby died at a hospital the following day.
The state medical examiner had determined that the baby died from head injuries and ruled his death a homicide.
During the two-week trial, Martin testified the boy choked on a snack and hit his head on the kitchen counter as she placed him down during the 911 call.
The judge rejected Martin’s claims, saying it was clear Martin had inflicted a traumatic injury on the boy.
Refuge occupiers concerned about liberal Portland jury
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Lawyers for those who occupied a national wildlife refuge in Oregon this winter are concerned a jury comprised of people from the greater Portland area won’t be impartial.
The trial for Ammon Bundy and 25 others is set for September. At Wednesday’s status hearing, a defense attorney suggested the possibility of change of venue, and asked a federal judge to approve funding for an analysis of the media attention the case received and, possibly, a survey of community attitudes.
But U.S. District Court Anna Brown seemed inclined to reject the funding, unless the need was apparent after a thorough jury selection process.
She seemed more agreeable to a request the jury include people from throughout Oregon. But Brown said it’s “totally speculative” to suggest a jury from the Portland district would be too liberal. The district includes Oregon’s entire northwest quadrant.
Fuel breaks to reduce wildfire risk being built in SW Idaho
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials plan to start putting in emergency fuel breaks this week in southwest Idaho to reduce wildfire risk.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says the project in Owyhee County is part of a $67 million rehabilitation effort following last year’s wildfire in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon.
The fire scorched 436 square miles of sagebrush steppe that supports cattle grazing and some 350 species of wildlife, including sage grouse.
The fuel breaks will be created by removing unburned vegetation on public lands near homes and other structures.
The BLM says the fuel breaks will mostly be established with work along 25 miles of existing roads.
The agency says it’s working on an environmental assessment for a larger fuel break project that will be released later this month.
OTHER AVRIL LAVIGNE-ARRESTED
Man who changed name to Avril Lavigne arrested on warrant
(Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say they have arrested a wanted unregistered sex offender who legally changed his name to Avril Lavigne.
The Oregonian/Oregon Live reports that police announced Monday that 30-year-old man, who was born Romany Yves Mesina, was suspected of following teen girls and young women, taking photos of them and posting them on social media.
Police say he also hadn’t registered as a sex offender after a 2009 rape conviction.
Court records show that Lavigne petitioned to have the same full name as the Canadian-born singer in 2014. He does not list a reason for the request in court papers.
Crews scramble to remove trees downed by Oregon winter
(Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com)
BEND, Ore. (AP) — Forest managers in central Oregon are racing to clean up trees downed by wind and snow this winter.
Steve Bigby, roads manager for the Deschutes National Forest Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District, told The Bulletin that workers have cleared trees from most of the primary roads but are still cleaning up the damage on smaller routes.
He says high winds and accumulated snow caused most of the toppled and snapped trees, but soil may have played a role as well.
Bigby says the soil didn’t seem to freeze as solidly as usual this year, meaning roots were less stable. He’s been working in the district for 21 years and says this is the worst year he’s seen in terms of trees being blown down.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.