Latest Oregon news, sports, business and entertainment


The Latest: Oregon mother, son succumb to injuries from fire

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a woman and her 13-year-old son who were critically injured in a rural Oregon house fire have died.

Erin Patrick with the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office told The Associated Press that 38-year-old Tabitha Howell and 13-year-old Andrew Hall-Young both died at a Portland hospital Thursday afternoon.

Patrick says both died from injuries sustained in the early Wednesday fire that also killed four children ages 4 to 13.

James Howell remained at the hospital Thursday for treatment of critical burns.

Fire officials say a portable space heater was to blame.


Feds kill wolf on private land with cyanide trap

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Officials say a gray wolf was unintentionally killed in rural northeast Oregon by a cyanide device used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and the USDA acknowledged the Sunday killing in a news release.

The male, 100-pound wolf was a member of the Shamrock Pack and believed to be less than 2 years old.

The federal government’s Wildlife Services division was using a cyanide device known as an M-44 to kill coyotes and “prevent coyote-livestock conflict” on the private property in Wallowa County.

The often-questioned tool is a spring-activated device that is typically smeared with bait and shoots poison into the animal’s mouth when it tugs on the trap.

Federal officials are reviewing the death.



Woodland triple homicide suspect won’t get death penalty

(Information from: The Columbian,

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Prosecutors say they will not seek the death penalty against a man accused in a Woodland triple homicide and attempted jail escape.

The Columbian reports Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik notified Brent Luyster’s defense team Thursday of the decision.

Golik says his office will seek a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Luyster’s lawyer says he plans to plead not guilty Monday to three counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a weapon by a jail inmate, malicious mischief and attempted escape.

Aggravated murder is the only charge in Washington that carries the possibility of the death penalty.

Luyster is accused of fatally shooting Joseph Mark Lamar, Zachary David Thompson and Janell Renee Knight on July 15. A fourth person was shot and critically injured.



Bakers take same-sex wedding cake fight to appeals court

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The case of the Oregon bakers who denied service to a same-sex couple several years ago has come before the state Court of Appeals.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Melissa and Aaron Klein argue that Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and the Bureau of Labor and Industries violated state and federal laws by forcing them to pay damages to the couple.

Lawyers for Sweet Cakes by Melissa also said the state violated the Kleins’ rights as artists to free speech, their rights to religious freedom and their rights as defendants to a due process.

They argue the fine was excessive and that Avakian, who praised an LGBTQ advocacy group on Facebook before the hearing, should have recused himself.

If the Kleins are successful, their appeal could create a religious exemption to the 2007 Oregon Equality Act, which protects Oregonians from discrimination.



Oregon deputy charged with harassment fired

(Information from: The Bulletin,

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A central Oregon deputy who grabbed a woman’s arm after a fender-bender crash in December has been fired.

The Bulletin reports 40-year-old Bradley Wright was fired recently after the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office completed an internal investigation of the incident.

Sheriff Shane Nelson says a review of the criminal and internal investigations showed that Wright’s conduct violated office policies including ethics and professional standards; general conduct and personal conduct.

District Attorney John Hummel charged Wright with harassment but dropped the charge in February when Hummel announced Wright had completed a program which involved community service.

Prosecutors say Wright was off-duty when the crash occurred Dec. 24 outside a Bend Fred Meyer.

When the drivers left their vehicles to assess damage, Wright allegedly caused bruising by aggressively grabbing the 67-year-old woman’s arm.



All 4 Pacific Northwest senators against Perry confirmation

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — All four senators from Washington and Oregon voted against Rick Perry to become energy secretary, saying they were worried about his commitment to clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

But the former Texas governor was easily approved by the full Senate Thursday to join the cabinet of President Donald Trump.

The Department of Energy is responsible for the nation’s nuclear arsenal and the waste left over from the production of those weapons.

Hanford, created during the Manhattan Project in World War II, for decades made plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons. That mission ended decades ago, and the site is now engaged in cleaning up the nation’s largest stockpile of radioactive waste. That work expected to take decades and cost tens of billions of dollars.

Hanford is near Richland.


Portland General Electric seeks 5.6 percent rate increase

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland General Electric has asked state utility regulators to approve a 5.6 percent rate increase.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Thursday that the utility asked for the increase, which would effectively provide $100 million in new revenue, to go into effect next January. PGE says the increase in necessary to cover increased costs for transmission upgrades and other investments to enhance grid reliability.

The request comes after rate increases in 2014, 2015, and 2016 that collectively raised rates about 7 percent.

The proposed raise would vary by customer class, with residential customers seeing a 7.1 percent raise. Small businesses would see rates go up 5.7 percent.

Ratepayer advocates say they will oppose the rate hike, citing the increases in recent years.



Man charged in Oregon cliff death wins pretrial ruling

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Statements made to police by an Oregon man accused of pushing his 23-year-old girlfriend off a cliff will not be admissible at trial.

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a detective should have stopped interrogating Stephen Nichols when the suspect said he did not want to discuss Rhonda Casto’s death. The interview occurred shortly after Nichols’ 2015 arrest at San Francisco International Airport.

A Hood River County judge had ruled the statement inadmissible, but the state appealed to the higher court.

Casto fell 100 feet during a 2009 hike in the Columbia River Gorge. Nichols called 911 to say the woman slipped.

Records show that several months before the incident, Nichols increased Casto’s life insurance policy to $1 million.

The Bend resident was secretly indicted while living in China in 2014. He has pleaded not guilty.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.