Springfield man gets life sentence for 2015 slaying
(Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com)
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A man who admitted to killing a 23-year-old Springfield woman after breaking into her home and sexually assaulting her has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The Register-Guard reports that Kyle Dean Pfaff was sentenced after changing his plea to guilty Thursday on several different charges, including aggravated murder, burglary and sexual assault. The plea deal helped Pfaff avoid a possible death sentence.
Sarah Ann Coleman came home in July 2015 to find Pfaff had broken into the residence. Authorities say Pfaff then assaulted and sexually abused her before killing the woman and fleeing in her car.
Police arrested him days later near Sutherlin.
Court documents say Pfaff confessed to the crimes. At his sentencing hearing, Pfaff told the judge he deserved a life sentence.
SUV INTO HOUSE
SUV plows into Oregon home, killing woman asleep in bedroom
(Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com)
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say the driver of an SUV crashed into a Salem home, killing a 36-year-old woman who was asleep in her bedroom.
Salem Police said in a news release that Srabonti Haque died in the crash Monday night. Her husband and two children were home at the time but were not injured.
According to the Statesman Journal , police say 54-year-old Alan Jacobs drove his SUV off the road and plowed through a home Monday night.
Police are investigating.
Congressional delegation urges Trump to fund Hanford work
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The entire congressional delegation from Washington is asking President-elect Donald Trump to make environmental cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation a priority.
Hanford for years made plutonium for nuclear weapons, and now is engaged in a multi-decade cleanup of the resulting waste at a cost of some $2 billion per year.
Both of Washington’s senators and all 10 members of the House of Representatives sent Trump a letter on Monday asking him to support the cleanup that employs some 9,000 workers at Hanford, which is located north of Richland.
The letter noted that Congress and previous presidents have recognized the legal and moral obligation of the federal government to clean up Hanford, which contains some 55 million gallons of some of the world’s most dangerous radioactive wastes.
Environmental groups want work halted on Snake River dams
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Environmental groups are asking a federal court to halt 11 infrastructure projects on four lower Snake River dams in Washington state that could ultimately be removed following an environmental review now underway.
The notice filed late Monday in Portland, Oregon, estimates the cost of the projects at $110 million.
A federal judge ruled in May that the U.S. government hasn’t done enough to improve Northwest salmon runs and ordered an environmental impact statement, urging officials to consider removing the dams.
That document is due out in 2021.
Kevin Lewis of Idaho Rivers United says suspending the infrastructure work is needed to ensure a level playing field while agencies consider potential removal.
The groups are also asking that more water be spilled over dams to help salmon.
Railroad sues to force approval of Oregon track expansion
MOSIER, Ore. (AP) — Union Pacific is asking a federal judge to reject local rules that threaten to derail its plans to add a second main track along the Columbia River Gorge where a crude oil train derailed last June.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based railroad filed the lawsuit Tuesday against Wasco County and the Columbia River Gorge Commission, which moved to block the project last fall.
Union Pacific says federal rules govern railroads, so local restrictions like the ones Wasco County approved don’t apply to the project.
The chair of the Wasco County board of commissioners, Rod Runyon, said Tuesday that he was surprised by the lawsuit. He says he had not yet seen the lawsuit to comment further.
The derailment last June sparked a massive fire near Mosier, Oregon, and renewed concerns about the safety of trains that carry crude oil across the region.
The complaint was filed in federal court in Oregon.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Rod Runyon’s name.
AIRCRAFT SAFETY WARNING
US agency issues safety warning for 1 type of small airplane
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board is requesting faster action to correct unsafe wiring found in a type of small airplane that crashed in Northern California.
The Piper PA-31T was carrying a flight nurse, transport medic and patient from Crescent City, near the Oregon border, to Oakland on July 29 when the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit. All four died.
The board issued an urgent safety recommendation Monday, asking the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a directive that would require mandatory action and a shorter timeline for addressing the problem.
An FAA spokesman said Tuesday that the agency is working with Piper on possible additional safety actions.
A spokeswoman for Piper did not return requests for comment.
There are more than 300 31T-series planes registered with the FAA.
Portland woman dies of hypothermia following eviction
(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland woman died of hypothermia three months after being evicted from the low-income apartment where she had lived for 10 years.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that 52-year-old Karen Lee Batts died alone in a Portland parking garage during a stretch of below-freezing temperatures in early January.
Batts was evicted from Oak Apartments, a low-income complex for seniors and people with disabilities, after apparently deteriorating behavior. Northwest Housing Alternatives executive director and building co-owner Martha McLennan says Batts had been a “great tenant,” but neighbors began to complain about her about six months before the eviction.
McLennan says a staff coordinator received notices that Batts was damaging property, threatening neighbors and acting erratically — unusual behavior for her.
KIDNAPPING CRASH-THE LATEST
The Latest: Police ID woman killed after reported abduction
ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) — A woman who died in a head-on collision in Eastern Oregon following her reported abduction has been identified as 40-year-old Anita Harmon of Weiser, Idaho.
She had been married to the man suspected of kidnapping her, 49-year-old Anthony Montwheeler of Nampa, Idaho. It was not immediately known if they were separated or divorced.
Oregon State Police say officers were chasing Montwheeler on Monday when his Dodge pickup crossed a centerline and collided with a SUV. Harmon and the SUV driver, 38-year-old David Bates of Vale, died at the scene.
Montwheeler was seriously injured. He has yet to be charged with a crime, but the Malheur County district attorney says he plans to present the case to a grand jury.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.