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Oregon senators’ bill would require probes of rail accidents

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have announced a new bill that would require a federal investigation into every railroad accident and clarify transportation officials’ moratorium power.

The Democrats’ proposal, introduced Wednesday, comes following last month’s fiery derailment of a Union Pacific oil train in Mosier, Oregon. The June 3 accident forced evacuations in the tiny town about 70 miles east of Portland and released 42,000 gallons of oil.

Federal transportation regulators declined to investigate that incident, citing limited staff and other reasons. Union Pacific has since resumed oil train operations despite Oregon and Washington officials’ asking for a moratorium.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also proposed new rules Wednesday that would require railroads draft response plans for large oil spills.


Police say ex-NFL player shot by homeowner spit on officer

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Court records show a former Detroit Lions NFL cornerback who was shot after trespassing onto a homeowner’s multimillion-dollar property in Portland has also been accused of spitting at a police officer.

The Oregonian reports that documents filed Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court say Stanley Wilson II has been indicted on several charges related to the alleged spitting, including aggravated harassment. He’s scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

A grand jury had found homeowner Robert McCall justified in his use of force against Wilson, who was shot in the abdomen on June 22.

Authorities say Wilson was found naked and wounded in a water fountain in the backyard.

Wilson has already been arraigned on burglary and trespassing charges in connection with the incident.



Semitrailer full of bananas catches fire near Ashland

(Information from: KVAL-TV,

ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) — Officials say a semitrailer carrying bananas has caught fire on Interstate 5 in southwest Oregon near Ashland.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said in a news release Wednesday afternoon that the semitrailer was fully engulfed, prompting a closure of the I-5 northbound lanes in the area.

KVAL-TV reports the truck’s brakes overheated, sparking the fire.

Southbound lanes of the interstate remain open but officials said to expect delays in both directions until at least Wednesday evening.

It wasn’t immediately known if anyone was injured in the blaze.



Ammon Bundy’s former lawyer cleared of misconduct claims

(Information from: The Register-Guard,

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Bar officials have dismissed complaints of misconduct against a Eugene attorney who urged Ammon Bundy supporters online to file public records requests with state and federal authorities.

The Register-Guard reports that the bar’s assistant general counsel, Troy Wood, issued a letter Wednesday saying his office found that Attorney Mike Arnold hadn’t engaged in professional misconduct.

Three complaints from residents of New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina had been filed in April alleging Arnold’s call to action would harass government agencies who receive public records requests. Arnold had maintained he only sought help from Bundy supporters to gather information for his defense.

Arnold had been representing Bundy in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation case until he was replaced in May by Utah Attorney Morgan Philpot.



Last federal refuge standoff occupier to remain in custody

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal court judge has allowed an Oregon standoff defendant Kenneth Medenbach to be released from jail while awaiting trial, but he will keep the last holdout in the armed takeover in custody.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones said Wednesday he remained concerned about David Fry’s mental instability and threats of “suicide by cop” before his surrender to FBI agents.

Jones also said a psychological report on Fry states that Fry is concerned about invasions from outer space and has spoken of a wish to be reincarnated as a woman.

Fry objected to the judge’s characterization of those statements. The 27-year-old has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to impede federal officers from doing their work at the refuge.

Fry was the last occupier to surrender at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Feb. 11.



Bull trout lawsuit targets 26 dams in Columbia River Basin

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An environmental group has filed a federal lawsuit contending that 26 dams operating in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana are harming bull trout and violating the Endangered Species Act.

The lawsuit filed by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies on Monday in Portland, Oregon, names the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration as defendants.

The alliance says the three federal agencies have failed to complete required consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on how to operate the dams in areas designated as critical bull trout habitat.

The group is asking a judge to force the agencies to complete those consultations that could lead to changes at the dams benefiting the federally protected bull trout.


Court tosses out subpoena in Kitzhaber investigation

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A federal appellate court panel has ruled that a subpoena seeking emails from former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber as part of an influence-peddling investigation is too broad.

In a ruling Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel reversed a lower court’s order.

Kitzhaber resigned in 2015 amid suspicion that his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, used her relationship with him to earn lucrative consulting contracts. Federal authorities are investigating and the FBI has issued subpoenas for emails and thousands of other records for review by a grand jury.

The couple have denied wrongdoing.

In its ruling the appellate panel said Kitzhaber had a reasonable expectation of privacy in much of his personal email and that the subpoena “is unreasonable and invalid.” The panel said it expected another subpoena to be issued consistent with its ruling and that Kitzhaber may not assert attorney-client privilege for communication with attorneys for the state.


Authorities identify man fatally shot by deputy

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police have identified the person shot and killed by police west of Salem on July 5.

Authorities say Joshua Bolster, 29, of Salem was fatally shot by a Polk County Sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop on Highway 22. The Statesman Journal reports the deputy was identified as Casey Gibson, 28. Gibson was not injured.

The shooting occurred after Monmouth police sent out an alert the night of July 5 for Bolster. Monmouth police received reports he harassed his ex-girlfriend, trespassed at her apartment and confronted another resident at the complex armed with a knife.

Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton announced Tuesday that a grand jury would determine whether the deputy’s use of deadly force was justified.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.