Latest Oregon news, sports, business and entertainment

Date: 07/01/2016 09:20 AM

AP-OR–3rd Right Now/1227


Fire by The Dalles prompts evacuations, partial I-84 closure

THE DALLES, Ore. (AP) – Authorities say a fire was threatening homes about six miles east of The Dalles and closed a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge for a short time.

Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue said on Twitter the fire started at 5:35 p.m. Thursday and went from I-84 uphill to 15 Mile Road. As of Thursday night fire officials said an estimated 2,800 acres had burned and the fire was 60 percent contained.

Authorities closed I-84 from Biggs Junction to The Dalles in both directions at about 9 p.m. Thursday. It reopened at least partially by 11 p.m.

Wasco County emergency manager Juston Huffman says people in Celilo Village and on 15 Mile and Old Moody roads were issued a level three evacuation notice, which means people should leave their residences immediately. About 10 structures were threatened. The American Red Cross was opening a shelter in The Dalles for people who had evacuated.

Officials say 66 firefighters and others were on the scene from multiple agencies including Hood River, the Oregon Department of Forestry, Klickitat County and the Bureau of Land Management.


Guns missing from Florence hardware store; suspects sought

(Information from: The Register-Guard,

FLORENCE, Ore. (AP) – Police in Florence are asking for the public’s help in finding whoever is responsible for the theft of an AK-47 assault rifle and several handguns from a hardware store.

The Register-Guard reports that police had responded to the True Value Hardware store Thursday morning to find a broken window in the front of the building and several guns missing.

Police say the stolen guns include an AK-47 rifle, a short-barreled shotgun and several Glock handguns.

Police are offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects involved.



Unsafe lead levels discovered in North Douglas schools

(Information from: The News-Review,

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) – The North Douglas School District has announced that unsafe lead levels have been found in several water sources throughout the district.

The News-Review reports that officials said Thursday higher amounts of lead have been found in water in two concession stands, three science lab stations, a high school bathroom and the water supply in three classrooms. Officials say the sites were found to require “corrective action” and that the water supply to those areas have been shut off.

Superintendent John Lahley says the district-wide testing didn’t show high lead levels in any drinking fountains or kitchen areas where food preparation takes place.

Gov. Kate Brown has recently announced plans intended to bolster testing for chemicals in school districts throughout the state.



Oregon minimum wage, hotel tax going up July 1

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – New laws kicking in Friday will give a slight boost to the paychecks of more than 100,000 low-income Oregonians while tourists and vacationers will have a little less spending money.

The changes, enacted by the Legislature earlier this year, will almost double Oregon’s 1 percent tax on hotel stays and raise the current $9.25 hourly minimum wage by 50 cents in metro Portland and smaller cities such as Eugene and Salem and 25 cents in rural areas.

The lodging tax increase will help create a $25 million-subsidy for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships in Eugene and increase state tourism funds.

Gradual wage increases will occur annually through 2022, when metro Portland’s minimum will top $14.75, smaller cities at $13.50 and rural areas at $12.50.


Court: Thief shouldn’t pay back retail value of stolen jeans

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon Supreme Court has sided with a shoplifter on the question of whether restitution should be based on the retail or wholesale value of stolen merchandise.

The defendant was convicted of theft in 2013 after stealing 15 pairs of jeans from a Macy’s store in Portland.

The prosecutor who sought restitution to cover Macy’s loss asked for it to be based on the retail value of the jeans. The defendant said it should be based on what Macy’s would pay to replace them.

Lower courts sided with the prosecutor, but the high court overruled those judges Thursday.

The opinion written by Justice Martha Walters states the retailer would recover more than its actual losses if it gets retail value.

She says the seller might be entitled to recover other economic damages, including lost profits, but those must be proved and they were not in this case.


State finds undisclosed pesticides in pot growing products

SEATTLE (AP) – Washington state’s Department of Agriculture says it has found traces of undisclosed pesticides in many of the marijuana-growing fertilizers and other products it tested recently.

Inspectors tested 39 products. Spokesman Hector Castro said Thursday that of the 27 tests for which it has results so far, 15 had residues of pesticides that weren’t on the product’s label. That means growers could be using certain pesticides without knowing it.

Some of the ingredients aren’t allowed in Washington’s legal marijuana system.

Officials ordered a statewide halt to sales of the 15 products, which include pesticides such as Safergro Mildew Cure for Powdery Mildew Control as well as fertilizers sold under the labels Humboldt Roots, Olivia’s Cloning Gel and Optic Foliar Overgrow.

The Agriculture Department ordered licensed growers to advise customers who have used the products to advise their customers about it.


The Latest: Petitions for pot legalization measure submitted

PHOENIX (AP) – Supporters of legalizing marijuana in Arizona have submitted more than 250,000 signatures to put a measure on the November ballot.

Representatives of the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office on Thursday began counting signed petitions in dozens of boxes collected by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

Campaign chairman J.P. Holyoak says this is the first step toward ending policies of prohibition.

The initiative needs 150,000 valid signatures by July to get on the ballot.

Under the measure, adults age 21 and older can carry limited amounts of marijuana.

Opponents say the measure lets medical marijuana dispensaries have a monopoly on licenses to sell.


Experts: Climate change could be worsening Oregon’s economy

(Information from: The Bulletin,

BEND, Ore. (AP) – Oregon is one of several states without a routine water testing program, leaving many bodies of water unmonitored for harmful algae blooms.

The Bulletin reports a handful of the state’s lakes are shut down each summer because of harmful algae blooms. The blooms, sometimes called blue-green algae, are caused by toxin-producing bacteria and often form a green paint-like scum on the surface of the water. It can cause health problems for humans and can kill livestock and pets.

Most blooms are only a minor inconvenience, but environmental authorities are concerned that climate change and runoff are increasing the frequency and severity of harmful algae blooms and putting people and animals at greater risk.

Algae expert Dr. Wayne Carmichael says the blooms will get worse unless people address water quality.



Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.