Latest Oregon news, sports, business and entertainment



Gubernatorial debate: Brown bullish, Pierce low-key

(Information from: The Register-Guard,

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown told her Republican challenger Bud Pierce in their third debate that she appreciated his apology for domestic violence remarks he made last week that caused an upheaval in his campaign.

The Register-Guard reports in the debate in Eugene Thursday, Pierce took “full responsibility and ownership” for saying successful women aren’t as susceptible to domestic abuse as those on lower economic rungs.

The comment came after Brown revealed she was domestic violence victim.

On education, Pierce critiqued Brown, saying Oregon’s schools slipped in national rankings while she was in the statehouse.

Brown said a proposed major tax increase on corporations would help reduce class sizes and pay for an Oregon Health Plan expansion.

Independent Party of Oregon candidate Cliff Thomason also joined the debate, advocating for high school students to get GED certificates after 10th grade.



Ex-prison guard found guilty in sexual misconduct case

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A former corrections officer has been found guilty of having sex with an inmate at the state women’s prison in Wilsonville.

Washington County jurors convicted 42-year-old Brian Balzer of custodial sexual misconduct Thursday.

The verdict came the same day that the woman in the case was released from jail after being held there since August as a material witness.

State law allows attorneys to seek a warrant and court order to hold an important witness who presents a flight risk.

The woman told The Oregonian/OregonLive she’s considering a civil case against the Oregon Department of Corrections and Washington County for what she described as unjust treatment.

Balzer has remained free since his December arrest and was allowed to remain out of custody until his sentencing hearing.



Former high school counselor accused of sex abuse

(Information from: KATU-TV,

OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) — A man who worked as a counselor and track coach at a high school just south of Portland is facing charges after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.

KATU-TV reports that the former Rex Putnam High School employee turned himself in to Oregon City police Monday. He was indicted on second-degree sexual abuse charges last month.

Authorities say they were alerted to the inappropriate relationship between the 38-year-old suspect and the student in 2014.

He was placed on administrative leave and later stopped working for the district.

The North Clackamas School District issued parents a letter about the indictment this week.



The Latest: Face of Oregon standoff denies being its leader

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — In a turnaround, the face of the occupation at a national wildlife refuge denied leading the standoff over federal control of public lands and defended receiving a government loan to help his business.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight pressed Ammon Bundy on his claim that he wasn’t the leader, pointing to earlier testimony in which he said he was “sort of” in charge.

Bundy told Knight he teaches correct principles and lets people govern themselves.

Bundy also acknowledged receiving a $530,000 U.S. Small Business Administration loan to help his commercial vehicle maintenance business.

He rejected that it made him a hypocrite. Bundy says he supports the federal government, but not its management of land within states.

Bundy is among seven defendants charged with conspiring to impede federal employees from working on the refuge. Knight reminded Bundy that he testified the occupiers were there for a unified purpose.


The Latest: Police ID father, kids in homicide-suicide

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — Police have identified a 36-year-old Oregon man suspected of fatally shooting his two children at an apartment complex near Portland before killing himself.

Authorities on Thursday identified the father as Lakalo Kawika Enfield. The two children were identified as 6-year-old Lakalo Vergara Enfield and his 8-year-old sister, Lehua Elaysea Enfield.

Police responded to the apartment in the Portland suburb of Beaverton late Wednesday afternoon after a female relative called saying three people were possibly dead inside.


Man in clown mask arrested for trespassing at high school

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. (AP) — Police have arrested a man wearing a scary clown mask for trespassing on high school property in southern Oregon.

Central Point police said in a Facebook post that they arrested 21-year-old Michael Richard Wednesday night.

Police say they began investigating after receiving reports that there were pictures of a clown holding a sign that said, “We Are Here” at four high schools in Central Point and Medford.

Police identified Richard as the person wearing the mask and distributing the photos. He was jailed on disorderly conduct and trespassing charges.

Police say they will have an extra presence at schools for the rest of the week.

Clown threats have popped up in schools across the country.


Eds: This story has been corrected to show the suspect’s last name is Richard, not Richards.


Ammon Bundy says he felt ‘extreme danger’ during arrest

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Ammon Bundy testified he believed his life was in “extreme danger” during his arrest, and described Robert “LaVoy” Finicum’s death as an ambush.

The man who led the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge took the stand Thursday for a third day of testimony in his federal conspiracy trial.

Under questioning from his attorney, Bundy described the Jan. 26 traffic stop that ended with his arrest, saying he feared getting shot if he made a move, and was too afraid to pick up his hat.

Finicum, an occupation spokesman, was fatally shot by police after fleeing the stop in a different vehicle.

When Bundy called it an ambush, U.S. District Judge Anna Brown halted further mention of the topic, reminding the courtroom that Finicum’s death is not being litigated.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.