Latest Oregon news, sports, business and entertainment

AP-OR–2nd Right Now/1164


Roseburg woman taking photos dies in cliff fall

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a 23-year-old woman died after falling 90 feet off a cliff to the bank of the North Umpqua River northeast of Roseburg.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department said in a Monday news release that authorities called to the incident Sunday afternoon found Sydney Craft of Roseburg deceased.

Police say Craft had been taking photos of a friend who was jumping into the river when she slipped and fell down a cliff to the river’s edge. Craft’s friend tried unsuccessfully to administer CPR, police said.

Multiple agencies responded to the incident.


Man dies in Stanfield house fire

(Information from: East Oregonian,

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — Fire officials say a man has died after his home caught fire in Stanfield.

The victim of the Monday morning blaze has not yet been identified.

Firefighters say they had been unable to enter the burning home due to the amount of fire and failing roof structures.

A crew of about eight firefighters and a chief officer worked to extinguish the flames using hoses from the outside.

The victim’s neighbor, Thom Thongdy, tells The East Oregonian he couldn’t get through to dispatchers when he called 911 after seeing the flames. He says he ran to the burning home and kicked open the door, but didn’t enter because it was too hot.

Stanfield is a town of about 2,000 people in northeast Oregon.



City of Corvallis retests water sources for lead

(Information from: KPTV-TV,

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Corvallis officials say follow-up testing has determined that four drinking fountains at city parks are now to safe to drink from after initial tests revealed they had elevated lead levels.

KPTV-TV reports that the city says it’s still working to figure out how lead is entering two water fixtures at Riverfront Park, which still showed lead levels in excess of federal limits after the second round of tests.

The city’s water supply comes from sources where lead has never been detected — the Willamette River and the Rock Creek Watershed.



Civil War vet’s ashes are on motorcycle ride across America

SALEM, Oregon (AP) — Jewett Williams served in the 20th Maine Regiment in the Civil War. When he died in 1922 at an Oregon insane asylum, he was cremated and his ashes were stored and forgotten along with the remains of thousands of other patients.

On Monday, Williams’ ashes were handed over at a ceremony to a group of motorcycle-riding military veterans for a journey across the country to his home state.

The Patriot Guard Riders, a group that attends the funerals of U.S. military veterans, firefighters and police, then started their Harleys and began the long journey to Maine, where Williams’ ashes will be taken in relays by group members for burial with military honors.

Williams died at what is now called the Oregon State Hospital in 1922, just a few months after being admitted. Patients whose bodies were not claimed by family were cremated, the ashes put in canisters and into a shed.


Oregon standoff defendant gets probation in separate case

(Information from: The Register-Guard,

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A man who participated in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge this year has been sentenced in a separate case in which he’s accused of occupying federal property in Josephine County.

The Register-Guard reports Kenneth Medenbach was ordered Monday to serve five years of probation after being convicted of illegally camping and occupying federal land near Galice last year.

Medenbach’s attorney called the probation term “grossly excessive,” saying his client hadn’t threatened anyone during the occupation to protest the government’s control of public lands.

The 63-year-old Medenbach was also given a six-month jail sentence Monday, which is already considered fulfilled because he received credit for time served after his arrest in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover this winter. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.



Cost of public pensions to rise $885 million over 2 years

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The cost of Oregon’s public pension system will increase about $885 million over the next two years, a higher increase than was previously expected.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that the new costs are 10 percent higher than previously forecast and 44 percent above the $2 billion per biennium that public employers are currently paying.

The Public Employees Retirement System on Friday released an updated valuation of the pension fund’s assets and liabilities that suggests the system’s investment returns have lagged far behind the system’s assumed rate of 7.5 percent. The fund currently has an unfunded liability of $21.8 billion or about 71 cents in assets for every dollar of liabilities.

The PERS Board will send employers their new rates in September, though they won’t take effect until July 1, 2017.



Woman arrested after bank robbery was in transgender film

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A former Oregon inmate arrested last week in Wyoming for bank robbery was in a documentary on transgender prisoners a decade ago.

The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported Monday that Linda Patricia Thompson was featured a film called “Cruel and Unusual” that documents the lives of transgender inmates.

Thompson was arrested on July 27 after police say she robbed a US Bank in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and then threw the money in the air.

The 59-year-old was at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, for a robbery conviction until her June release.

She told Wyoming officials she’d been beaten up and didn’t want to stay on the streets.

In the film, Thompson says that she severed her testicles with a razor blade while in an Idaho prison.


Changing hazelnut industry complicates forecast

(Information from: Albany Democrat-Herald,

ALBANY, Ore. (AP) — Agricultural statisticians are cautiously preparing Oregon’s annual hazelnut crop forecast after last year’s forecast overestimated by more than 25 percent.

The Capital Press reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service hasn’t figured out exactly what went wrong in 2015. NASS state statistician Dave Losh says the Oregon’s rapidly changing hazelnut industry and an early crop are likely to blame for skewed results.

Losh says one complication is the fungal disease that is gradually destroying old orchards while farmers plant new cultivars resistant to the blight.

Chris Mertz, regional director for the Northwest, says NASS is focused on making sure its crews are following the model for collecting data. Mertz says the agency wants to make sure it’s covering all its bases before changing the model.



Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.