Latest Oregon news, sports, business and entertainment



Brutal western US winter has been terrible for animals

A heavy snowfall this winter in the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the West has caused travel delays and other problems for people. But wildlife are also suffering, from deer and elk whose food sources are buried under snow and ice to cougars that had to forage in an Oregon town.

In eastern Oregon, state wildlife officials are feeding elk, but the weather makes accessing them difficult. When highways and the Interstate are closed because of the snow, the workers must still get to the rural feeding stations where they feed the elk alfalfa hay.

And heavy snow has forced Idaho’s fish and game department to begin emergency feeding of big game animals in southern Idaho.


Oregon community sees fifth cougar killed in 1 week

(Information from: The Bulletin,

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Wildlife officials have caught and killed a cougar in the central Oregon town of La Pine for the fifth time in one week.

The Bend Bulletin reports that the state Department of Fish and Wildlife killed the cougar on Thursday following reports that it was seen near a corner store earlier this week.

The department has recently been alerted to several cougar sightings, tracks left by the animal and cougars attacking domestic animals.

Cougars have been to blame for the deaths of two pets and 12 chickens in the community east of the Cascade Range.

The recent string of cougar shootings began Saturday, when a Deschutes County deputy killed a cougar after it attacked a dog. Wildlife officials then killed three cougars on Monday.



ODOT worker suffers medical emergency, dies

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Department of Transportation says a worker has died after suffering a medical emergency at a work site.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that the member of a maintenance crew died Thursday and has not yet been identified.

The department says a co-worker was performing CPR when emergency responders arrived at the site on Oregon 58 in Lane County.

The worker died on the way to a hospital.

The death remains under investigation.



Man gets 20 years for raping woman on bike trail

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland man convicted nearly 30 years ago of attempted murder has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping a cyclist who was trying to fix her flat tire.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 51-year-old Thomas Peacock was sentenced Thursday in the March attack on a 22-year-old woman in Gresham.

Police say the woman told them she flagged down a man riding a bike and asked him for help. She says he threatened her with a knife, forced her into a wooded area and attacked her.

Peacock pleaded guilty to rape, sexual abuse and kidnapping in the case. He declined to make a statement in court.

Court records show Peacock’s criminal history includes robbery, burglary and a 1989 attempted murder conviction. He was released on parole in August 2015.



Oregon school officials on leave for mocking students

(Information from: The Register-Guard,

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Two Willamette Valley school administrators have been placed on leave after sending text messages in which they mocked students.

The Register-Guard reports Creswell High School Principal Andy Bracco and Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Jordan Osborn were placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday.

District Superintendent Todd Hamilton said the men would be on leave pending the outcome of a “complete investigation.”

The text conversation happened Jan. 13 during a high school basketball game. Someone in the stands took a photograph over Osborn’s shoulder of the texts to Bracco on his phone.

One text made fun of a student’s weight. Another suggested a former student was doing drugs.

Hamilton confirmed copies of the text were between Osborn and Bracco.

The administrators apologized for their comments in an email to Creswell High School families.



Oregon governor, legislative leaders worry about budget gap

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s governor and legislative leaders are worried about closing a budget gap, while Democrats are also focused on insulating the state from President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration, health care and other issues.

These issues emerged during a forum Thursday organized by The Associated Press. Gov. Kate Brown said she hopes the whole country can work together, but at the same time she is committed to using every tool on behalf of Oregon, including litigation if Washington uses funding as leverage.

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, said the legislative session which begins Feb. 1 will be her tenth, and that she could not imagine a more difficult one because of a $1.7 billion budget deficit.

Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli said reforming Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System is critical.


Oregon high school graduation rate improves

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s high school graduation rate improved in 2016.

Figures released by the state Thursday show 74.8 percent of students earned a diploma in four years, a percentage point increase from the year before.

Oregon regularly has one of the nation’s lowest graduation rates, and the uptick still leaves it below the national average of 83 percent. The state has set an ambitious goal of attaining a 100 percent graduation rate by 2025.

The state graduated 1,300 more students in 2016 than in the previous year. All demographic groups improved their rates.

Almost 90 percent of Asian students graduated in four years, but white, black, Hispanic and American Indian students all remain short of 80 percent. Seventy-eight percent of girls graduated in four years compared with 71 percent of boys.


UO coaches got $2500 police escort on local recruiting trip

(Information from: The Register-Guard,

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The University of Oregon hired four Eugene police officers to provide a motorcycle escort for new football coach Willie Taggart on a recent tour of area high schools.

The Register-Guard newspaper reports the athletic department spent nearly $2,500 from its recruiting budget for the Jan. 13 escort.

Athletic department spokesman Craig Pintens says the escort was used because Taggart and his coaching staff had a limited amount of time to visit a number of schools as part of their recruiting effort and wanted to stay on schedule.

The escort led a pair of UO vehicles to eight high schools in Springfield and Eugene.

Eugene police spokesman John Hankemeier says the officers were what the department calls a “lead,” rather than an official escort. An official escort requires traffic to pull over.



Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.