Latest Oregon News from the AP


Key Oregon refuge occupier pleads guilty

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A military veteran who the government says took leadership roles in two standoffs involving the Bundy family has pleaded guilty in Oregon and is expected to soon do the same in Nevada.

At the federal courthouse in Portland, Ryan Payne of Anaconda, Montana, admitted Tuesday he conspired with others to prevent Interior Department employees from doing their jobs this winter at the Malheur National Wildfire Refuge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said prosecutors are recommending his Oregon prison sentence — likely 3 ½ years — run at the same time as whatever punishment he receives for his role in the 2014 standoff with federal agents at Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch.

Gabriel says Nevada prosecutors plan to recommend a sentence of 12 years in prison, and Payne’s defense will push for seven years.


Northwest Oregon fire season starts Thursday

(Information from: Statesman Journal,

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Department of Forestry says fire season in the Northwest district begins Thursday.

The designation means forest operators and the public must take special precautions in ODF-protected forests in Clatsop, Columbia, Multnomah, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill counties.

For the general public, burning permits are required for open pile burning and burn barrels, and fireworks and sky lanterns are prohibited. A countywide ban on open pile burning is in effect in Tillamook County and all burning will be banned Aug. 1.

The Statesman Journal reports ODF declared fire season in Benton and Polk counties and part of Lincoln County on July 5. The rest of Lincoln County will be included in the Northwest district fire season that starts Thursday.



UO settles whistleblower suit with 2 former employees

(Information from: The Register-Guard,

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The University of Oregon has agreed to pay $425,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by two former employees over allegations that the school retaliated against them for speaking out about a student’s therapy records being accessed.

The Register-Guard reports UO spokesman Tobin Klinger said Tuesday the university doesn’t admit guilt in settling with Jennifer Morlok and Karen Stokes.

The two women, who worked at the university’s counseling center, claimed they were shunned, criticized and threatened with dismissal after bringing to light news that the university had obtained the student’s therapy records.

The student had sought counseling in 2014 after a sexual encounter with three UO basketball players, whom she accused of rape. The players said it was consensual.

Morlok resigned last October, citing intolerable conditions. Stokes left shortly after.



Man with gun at Portland rally released from jail

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A counter-protester who was arrested for displaying a gun during a Portland rally to protest the deaths of two black men shot by police in Minnesota and Louisiana has been released from jail.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that 36-year-old Michael Strickland was released Monday after posting 10 percent of his $250,000 bail.

Strickland had initially faced charges of menacing and disorderly conduct in connection with the incident during the July 7 protest and was released on his own recognizance. He was arrested again July 8 after being charged with unlawful use of a firearm.

Strickland previously said he showed the loaded weapon because he was being surrounded by “anarchists.”

Court records show police also found Strickland with five magazines of ammunition.

His next court date is set for July 29.



Eugene council rejects price tag for new City Hall

(Information from: The Register-Guard,

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The Eugene City Council has rejected a proposal to build a new City Hall at a cost of $28 million.

The 7-1 decision comes after the building’s projected price nearly doubled in two years. The Register-Guard reports the latest increase of $3 million surfaced after the general contractor received bids from several subcontractors.

Councilors who voted against the project cited the inflated cost.

They discussed switching gears and considering a land swap with Lane County government that could see the building constructed at a different lot in downtown Eugene.



Portland officials explore alternative to fare evasion fine

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland officials say they are exploring alternatives to the $175 fine for fare dodgers caught on a TriMet bus or train.

The Oregonian/Oregon Live reports that TriMet has formed an internal committee to review its fare enforcement policies, including whether it’s unfairly targeting riders based on race, age or other factors.

TriMet officials mentioned possible alternatives to the fine during a presentation to its equity advisory panel. These could include community service, a reduced fee if the fine is paid quickly and an in-house appeal process.

TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt says the agency’s legal staff has looked at what other agencies do but emphasized that the alternatives are only ideas at this point.



Corvallis man charged with car break-in, public indecency

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Corvallis police arrested a man accused of breaking into a couple’s car and masturbating while in the passenger seat.

Lt. Daniel Duncan says the incident happened late Monday after the couple returned to their vehicle after watching a movie. They called 911 instead of confronting the man.

Officers dispatched to the cinema say they caught Morgan Morris of Corvallis in the act. He had his feet on the dashboard and his shorts pulled down to his ankles. He was otherwise naked.

A search of the vehicle yielded a bottle of vodka and methamphetamine paraphernalia.

Duncan says the 32-year-old suspect was booked into jail on charges of public indecency, criminal mischief, meth possession and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle.


Youth protesters march for Klamath River water quality

(Information from: Herald and News,

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — Young protesters attending the Next Generation Climate Justice Action Camp marched through downtown Klamath Falls to raise awareness about water quality in the Klamath River.

The Herald and News reports more than 20 teens arrived from the Ashland-based camp. They marched in front of the Klamath County government building on Monday while shouting a call-and-response chant: “When the river is under attack, what do we do? Stand up and fight back!”

After marching, the teens staged a salmon die-in, a street performance showing how the fish are affected by poor water quality.

Camp representative Lacey Jackson says the group hoped to raise awareness about the Klamath Straits Drain, a Klamath Project water control device they believe is contributing to poor water quality.



Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.