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2 Oregon counties ponder pot production, sales in primary

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two Oregon counties might rescind bans on marijuana production and sales — which are allowed by state law — during Oregon’s primary election Tuesday.

The ballot measures are taking place in Klamath and Grant counties. Grant County Judge Scott Myers noted that the proponents of the measure named it 12-58, the same radio call sign used by some law enforcement bodies for narcotics activity.

Myers said last week that he’d be more than surprised if it passes in the largely conservative county in eastern Oregon.

Shortly after Oregon voters decided to legalize marijuana, the state allowed cities and counties to ban marijuana production and sales where at least 55 percent of voters opposed legalization. Over 100 cities and counties have since “opted out,” according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.


Oregon City babysitter gets life in prison for baby’s death

PORTLAND, Ore (AP) — An Oregon City woman has been sentenced to life in prison for causing the death of a 7-month-old boy who she had been babysitting.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that 38-year-old Sarah Martin was sentenced Tuesday after being found guilty of murder in the April 2015 death of Izaak Gillen. She must serve at least 25 years in prison before she becomes eligible for parole.

Martin had been babysitting Gillen when paramedics responded to a call that the boy stopped breathing. The baby died at a hospital the next day.

The state medical examiner determined the boy died from head injuries and ruled his death a homicide.

Martin testified at trial the boy had choked on a snack.

She didn’t make a statement at her sentencing hearing on her attorney’s advice.


Columbia Gorge is stage for hot dispute in Tuesday primary

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — One of the hottest issues in Oregon’s Tuesday primary is a battle over bottled water that is playing out in the scenic Columbia River Gorge.

Residents of Hood River County are voting on a ballot measure that would block Nestle from building a bottled water plant in Cascade Locks.

Town leaders and many of the residents support the idea because it would create jobs that are badly needed in the economically struggling town. But Nestle’s plan has drawn opposition from orchard owners, Native American tribes and some residents.


Blue Oregon making difficult choice: Sanders or Clinton?

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders visited Oregon three times in recent weeks, while Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton chose to send her husband instead. Oregon voters were deciding Tuesday which of the two they want as the party presidential nominee.

Both campaigns say Sanders has an edge in Oregon, where his progressive ideas resonate with many.

Nonetheless, given Clinton’s commanding national delegate lead over Sanders, even progressive Oregonians may find themselves torn between a Democratic candidate who stirs their passion and one who is more likely to win the nomination.

As one Portland voter put it on Tuesday — “I will support Hillary if she’s the nominee, but my heart is with Bernie.”


Avakian wins Democratic primary for secretary of state

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on Oregon’s primary election (all times local):

11:20 p.m.

State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has defeated his two Democratic opponents — both prominent members of the Oregon Legislature — in a hard-fought, expensive contest in the primary race for secretary of state.

With 66 percent of the vote counted Tuesday night, Avakian had captured more than 39 percent. Rep. Val Hoyle trailed not far behind with 34 percent and Sen. Richard Devlin followed last with about 26 percent.

In November, Avakian faces prominent Republican Dennis Richardson, who’s vying for a political comeback after an unsuccessful run against former Gov. John Kitzhaber two years ago.

Avakian had the strongest financial backing this year until the end of April, when two donations totaling $350,000 pushed Hoyle in the lead and raised the stakes in the race’s last few weeks.


11:12 p.m.

Ron Wyden breezed to victory over two little-known challengers in the Democratic primary for his seat in the U.S. Senate, winning a whopping 84 percent of the vote.

Four incumbents in the U.S. House — three Democrats and a Republican — also easily fended off primary challenges.

The three Democrats are Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader. The Republican is Greg Walden.

Bonamici will face Republican Brian Heinrich in November. Republican Art Robinson will run against DeFazio in the general election. Schrader will be opposed by Republican Colm Willis.

Walden will face Democrat James Crary in November.

Wyden will have two opponents in the fall — Independent Steve Reynolds and Republican Mark Callahan.


10:20 p.m.

State Treasurer Ted Wheeler will be the next mayor of Portland, clinching enough votes to avoid a runoff election in November.

With 46 percent of the vote counted, Wheeler was in the lead at 58 percent while Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey trailed behind in second at 16.2 percent.

Not too far behind Bailey at almost 10 percent was Sarah Innarone, the race’s lesser-known underdog candidate whose campaign picked up surprising steam in recent weeks.

As a nonpartisan race, one of the candidates needed at least 50 percent of the vote to declare a winner and avoid a runoff.


10:15 p.m.

Voters in an eastern Oregon county have rejected a ballot measure that aimed to rescind a ban on marijuana production and sales.

With all the votes in from Grant County, 53.5 percent rejected the measure.

Grant County Judge Scott Myers had said last week that he would be more than surprised if it passed in the largely conservative eastern county.

Voters in Klamath County, in the south, faced a similar ballot measure on Tuesday. There, with 60 percent of the vote counted, 58 percent had voted against requiring the county to allow “state-approved licenses, allowing medical dispensaries, retail farms and retail sales to conduct business.”

Shortly after Oregon voters decided in 2014 to legalize marijuana, the state allowed cities and counties to ban marijuana production and sales where at least 55 percent of voters opposed legalization. Over 100 cities and counties have since “opted out,” according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.


9:55 p.m.

Political newcomer Bud Pierce, a Salem doctor, has defeated four other candidates in the Republican primary for governor.

Pierce was tallying about 48 percent of the vote and is poised for a tough general election race against Democratic incumbent Kate Brown, who easily won her party’s nomination against five lesser-known candidates.

Pierce’s toughest primary opponent was businessman Allen Alley, who was the only candidate with political experience. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2010.

Both Pierce and Brown are fighting to serve out the remaining two years of former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s term — a post Brown assumed in February 2015 when Kitzhaber resigned amid influence-peddling allegations.


9:20 p.m.

Gov. Kate Brown easily clinched the nomination over a field of five lesser-known candidates in the Democratic primary for governor.

With 60 percent of the vote counted, Brown was far ahead of her opponents with nearly 85 percent of the tally.

It marks Brown’s first run for the governorship she inherited last year after her predecessor quit amid a federal investigation, and she was so confident she’d win the primary that she hardly campaigned.

Brown’s Democratic rivals were an ICU physician, an environmental engineer, a home care worker, a Walmart employee and a truck driver.


9:15 p.m.

Voters in Hood River County imposed a ban on commercial water bottling on Tuesday, killing a plan in which Nestle would have built a water-bottling plant in the job-scarce town of Cascade Locks.

Those who supported Measure 14-55 that asked the voters of surrounding Hood River County to ban the commercial production and transport of bottled water had expressed concern about water scarcity and losing the character of the community in the scenic Columbia River Gorge.

Town officials had wanted the project for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue and jobs it could have brought to a town with 19 percent unemployment.

With 60 percent of votes counted, 68 percent of them approved the measure. Nestle said it was “disappointed” in the result.


8:55 p.m.

Dennis Richardson, an unsuccessful GOP gubernatorial candidate two years ago, has staged a political comeback by defeating Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken in the Republican primary for Oregon secretary of state.

With 57 percent of the vote counted, Richardson was way ahead of his opponent at 78 percent.

Two years ago, Richardson made a run for governor and lost to incumbent John Kitzhaber. During that campaign, Richardson repeatedly drew attention to an ethics scandal that ultimately brought down Kitzhaber.

Votes were still being counted in the Democratic primary for secretary of state


8:45 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic presidential primary in Oregon. With 60 percent of the vote counted, the senator from Vermont had 53 percent of the vote. Hillary Clinton was trailing. Sanders visited Oregon three times in recent weeks.

Despite the result, Clinton remains on pace to wrap up the nomination in early June.


8:15 p.m.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has easily won Oregon’s Republican primary.

Trump went unchallenged in Oregon, even though former rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich were on the ballot.

With 35 percent of the vote counted, Trump had a large margin with 63.5 percent of the vote among Republican candidates.


12:10 p.m.

A steady stream of people on foot and bicycle are dropping off their ballots at the Pioneer Courthouse Square drop box.

Though Portland’s deciding a mayor’s race and a gas tax, voters in the liberal city seemed more motivated about the Democratic presidential nominating contest.

Rose Scott says she’d be happy with Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, but decided to do “stir it up” by voting for a woman.

Richard Walden, meanwhile, says he’ll support Clinton if she gets the nomination, but his “heart is with Bernie.” Melissa Aldrich also went with Bernie, contending he’s “for the people” instead of corporations.


11:40 a.m.

The Oregon secretary of state’s office says 36 percent of registered voters cast a ballot before the last day of the primary election.

Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to turn in their ballot at a drop box. It’s too late to vote by mail.

The secretary of state says more than 2.2 million Oregonians are eligible to vote in the primary, and nearly 835,000 submitted their ballots by Monday night.

The sparsely populated counties of Harney, Grant, Lake and Hood River have the highest turnout percentages so far, all topping 50 percent. Columbia County trails at 29 percent.

In voter-rich Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties, turnout was running slightly below the statewide average.


10:25 a.m.

Last-minute Oregon voters are heading to drop boxes around the state to make sure their mail ballots get counted before the 8 p.m. Tuesday deadline.

The presidential race has generated a lot of enthusiasm among Oregonians, with about 160,000 adding their names to the rolls of the two major parties this year — mostly Democrats.

It’s not yet clear how many of those newly registered voters will actually vote. But the secretary of state’s office says more than 1 million votes may be cast in this primary.

Many people wait until the last day or two to fill out their ballots, and then take them to drop boxes.



Local judge tosses Josephine County ban on GMO crops

(Information from: Mail Tribune,

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — A Josephine County judge has struck down a local ban on genetically engineered crops, pointing to a state law that prevents local anti-GMO rules.

Voters in two southern Oregon counties — Jackson and Josephine — approved anti-GMO ordinances in May 2014. The votes came seven months after state lawmakers approved a bill that prohibited local governments from regulating genetically engineered crops.

Lawmakers made an exception for Jackson County because its measure had already qualified for the ballot.

Opponents of GMOs in Josephine County went ahead with their own measure, saying they would let the courts decide if the vote is valid.

County Counsel Wally Hicks told the Mail Tribune he was not surprised by Judge Pat Wolke’s decision. Hicks said the opinion relied strongly on a previous Oregon Supreme Court ruling that state law pre-empts local law when they are incompatible.



Oregon unemployment rate stays at a low 4.5 percent

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The state Employment Department says Oregon added more than 5,000 jobs in April, keeping its jobless rate at 4.5 percent.

The agency says Oregon has gained 64,100 nonfarm payroll jobs since last April, when the unemployment rate was 5.7 percent. That’s the most jobs Oregon has ever added in a 12-month period. The next closest was in May 1997, when the state added 61,500 jobs.

Since April 2015, job growth has been especially strong in construction, health care, and professional and business services.

Oregon’s labor force participation rate rose to 62.6 percent in April, up from 60.8 percent in April 2015.


Oregon State fraternity suspended for 5 years

(Information from: Gazette-Times,

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State University has suspended the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity for five years because of hazing and harassment.

OSU spokesman Steve Clark tells the Corvallis Gazette-Times that incidents date back to at least 2012, and involve alcohol consumption, inappropriate slapping and touching, and keeping prospective members in rooms bombarded with amplified music.

Clark says 17 members were interviewed during the investigation and they admitted wrongdoing.

Alpha Gamma Rho can apply for reinstatement in 2021 and then have a two-year probationary period.

If that’s completed without incident, the fraternity will be free of penalties by 2023 — its 100th year at Oregon State.

Alpha Gamma Rho had a chance to appeal the suspension, but didn’t. A representative declined to discuss the situation when visited by a Gazette-Times reporter.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.