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Former Kitzhaber spokeswoman sues over firing

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A spokeswoman fired months before former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s resignation has filed a federal lawsuit against him and others, alleging she was wrongly let go.

Nkenge (nuh-KIN’-gay) Harmon Johnson said months after the July 2014 firing that it was because she offended Kitzhaber’s fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, at a staff meeting. The governor’s office blamed performance issues.

The lawsuit filed Friday afternoon in Eugene reasserts she was dismissed after the Hayes incident. It also states Harmon Johnson was fired after complaining that she was being asked to violate the law by working on Kitzhaber’s re-election while also doing her job as a public employee.

Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015 amid suspicions that Hayes used her relationship with him to land contracts for her green-energy consulting business.

Harmon Johnson is now president and CEO of the Urban League of Portland.


2 killed in head-on crash east of Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two people died and four were injured in a head-on crash east of Portland.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office says Estacada firefighters responded to Saturday night’s crash on Highway 224, finding a 7-year-old child unresponsive in one of the vehicles. CPR was performed but the child died at the scene.

The other patients were taken by either air or ground to Portland-area hospitals. One of them died on the way.

The highway was closed for hours after the crash.


New Jefferson County Courthouse opens Monday

(Information from: The Bulletin,

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Jefferson County opens its new courthouse in Madras on Monday.

The Bulletin newspaper reports the county in Central Oregon took advantage of a state program offering financial assistance to counties needing to update or replace substandard court facilities.

The old courthouse was built in 1961, has just two courtrooms and is at risk of collapse in an earthquake.

The new building has three courtrooms and improved security. It sits just west of the Madras City Hall and Madras Police Department headquarters.

County Administrator Jeff Rasmussen said the project is on target to come in at around $13.9 million, below the budgeted $15 million. Construction began 16 months ago.



Oregon orchard donates tons of cherries to the needy

(Information from: Capital Press,

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The group Farmers Ending Hunger has lined up a large donation of cherries from a prominent orchardist in The Dalles.

The Capital Press reports that roughly 80,000 pounds of fresh cherries will be distributed to Oregon food banks this summer.

Ken Bailey of Orchard View Farms is donating 14 totes per week, each of them 1,000 pounds.

The donated dark cherries are ones the commercial market doesn’t want because they are perhaps under-sized or off color.

Orchard View has an optical scan sorting system that routes market-quality cherries to the appropriate totes. The system practically eliminates hand-sorting labor costs and results in a product of uniform quality, size and color.



14 displaced in SW Washington fires

VANCOVER, Wash. (AP) — The American Red Cross says more than a dozen people have been displaced in two fires in southwest Washington.

The first fire ignited Sunday shortly after midnight in Vancouver. The Red Cross says the fire at an apartment building displaced seven adults and many pets.

Hours later, Clark County Fire & Rescue responded to a blaze in Battle Ground that displaced four adults and three children.

The Red Cross says it’s assisting with basic needs, temporary housing and information about recovery services.


Shoshone-Bannock Tribe opposed Idaho’s legal reach

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Leaders with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe say they no longer want Idaho to extend its legal reach onto their reservation land.

Nearly a half century ago, U.S. Congress passed a law known as “Public Law 280,” which allowed Idaho to have jurisdiction over the Shoshone-Bannocks in seven areas previously held by the federal government — these included road management, juvenile justice and mental health services.

However, tribal members say the law has failed, citing that the state has never provided those resources directly on the reservation. Members also argue that the law prohibits the tribe from pursuing federal funding to build up their own resources because the state is supposed to be in charge of overseeing them.

Leaders are now calling for an abandonment of the policy and some state lawmakers are interested. The state’s auditing agency is currently studying the effects of a retrocession.


The Latest: Suspect had pleaded guilty to racial threats

(Information from: The Columbian,

WOODLAND, Wash. (AP) — The Oregonian/Oregonlive reports that triple murder suspect Brent Luyster pleaded guilty in October 2014 for rioting with a weapon after he was accused of making racially motivated threats at a Vancouver, Washington, tavern in March 2013.

The newspaper says that he allegedly threatened to kill an interracial couple cuddling at the tavern and threatened another black man with a pistol outside the bar. He received a sentence of 90 days in jail.

The Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism and other bigotry, has identified Luyster and his brother as white supremacists, the Oregonian/Oregonlive repors.


Small earthquakes hit Oregon, Hawaii; no damage reported

The U.S. Geological Survey says that minor earthquakes have shaken part of the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area and Hawaii.

The agency says a magnitude-3.2 earthquake hit near Beaverton and several other Portland suburbs at 6:16 p.m. local time. No damages have been reported.

The agency also reports that on Hawaii’s Big Island, a magnitude-3.0 earthquake hit near the town of Leilani Estates at 4:13 p.m. local time. There are no reports of damage.

Experts in Hawaii are more focused on the possible tsunami effect of major earthquakes that take place in the Pacific Ocean region around the islands. A study by University of Hawaii researchers released in May says there’s a 9 percent chance that an earthquake measuring magnitude 9 or greater will strike Alaska’s Aleutian Islands within the next 50 years and send large tsunami waves to Hawaii.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.