Oregon

Chris Lehman

Every morning, Jim Larson takes a walk around town. Down to the railroad tracks. Up the hill behind City Hall. There's hardly a sound.

The silence is not unusual for a weekday morning in Larson’s small town of Prescott, Oregon. There’s not even a morning rush hour.  

“No, because there isn't that many people even that work anymore, either,” Larson said. “Everybody up this hill that I live on, from my house up. Nobody works here; they're all retired."

The mural in downtown Corvallis, Ore., is big: 10 feet high and 100 feet long. One side shows a peaceful countryside setting in rural Taiwan. The other shows police beating protesters in Tibet and a Buddhist monk setting himself ablaze in protest.

Oregon's Secretary of State released an audit today (Tuesday) showing the Department of State Lands violated the constitution by spending money it shouldn't have from the Common School Fund. But as Rob Manning reports, paying back the money isn't expected to harm schools.

SALEM, Ore. – President Obama and House Republicans continue to spar over whether to extend a soon-to-expire payroll tax cut. But one group of Oregonians will definitely see their taxes go down in January. They’re the wealthiest taxpayers.

When Oregon voters approved Measure 66 nearly two years ago, income taxes immediately rose for the highest tier of earners in the state. But the jump was temporary.

Starting this January 1st, the rate will drop back, though not all the way to pre-Measure 66 levels.

Oregon's timber dependent counties are still hoping for a federal rescue. But they're creating contingency plans in case Congress doesn't come through with a replacement for historic timber revenue.

Officials from eight counties met with Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber Monday to discuss their options. Some counties say they could become insolvent in the next year without additional funding.

The unemployment rate dropped 0-point-4 percent from the previous month. At 9-point-1 percent, it’s still half a percentage point higher than the national average.
Oregon’s drop in unemployment is good news, but state employment economist, Nick Beleiciks, warned people not to get too excited.

Nick Beleiciks: "It's just a one month change so far, which is very welcome after months and months of no change in the unemployment rate. So I think we're not ready to celebrate because of one month change, but it's certainly in the right direction."

Residents who live on Highway 36 west of Eugene are waiting for the results of a Pesticide Exposure Investigation by the state of Oregon. They believe herbicide spraying by the timber industry is causing health issues in their communities.

For years, residents near Blachly and Triangle Lake have complained of pesticide drift from clear-cut sprays. But it wasn’t until last spring that they caught the attention of the state. In independent biological testing, more than 30 people from the area tested positive for the common timber industry herbicides Atrazine and 2,4,D.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – The first inmate to be executed in Oregon since 1997 will have his hands wrapped in gauze to prevent any final obscene gestures. That's one detail that emerged Friday during a media tour of the state's execution chamber.

About 120 senior citizens converged on the Hollywood Senior Center in Portland this afternoon (Monday,) to learn ways they might be able to pay thousands of dollars in taxes they hadn't expected.
As Kristian Foden-Vencil reports, recent changes to Oregon's 'Senior Property Tax Deferral Program' have hundreds of Oregonians worried about keeping a roof over their heads.

Jean Mitchell has eight children, 22 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Today, 11-year-old Jaida (Jay-dah) drops by to give grandma a tupperware dish of fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Bend-based Western Communications is suing Deschutes County’s District Attorney alleging that Patrick Flaherty violated the law when he denied a public records request submitted by the company’s flagship paper, the Bend Bulletin.

In a letter sent this past July, Bulletin reporter Hillary Borrud asked the DA for the job applications of two attorneys recently hired by his office. Flaherty’s response came a week later. He denied the request claiming the information was exempt under Oregon law. The lawsuit claims that Flaherty never cited the statutory basis for his denial.

Soon, trains will once again roll down the rail line to the Oregon coast port of Coos Bay. A key rail link that was abandoned four years ago is set to re-open this month.

The previous private owners of the 110-mile rail link abruptly shut it down in September of 2007 citing deteriorating tunnels and track conditions. The Port of Coos Bay bought the tracks and used about $25 million in state and federal money to rehab the line. The Port's Martin Callery says it means sawmills and other shippers in the region won't be dependant on trucks alone to get their products to market.

SALEM, Ore. - Customers of one of Oregon's largest health insurance companies may see a large rate increase soon. State insurance regulators held a rare public hearing Wednesday on the request by ODS Health Plan to hike its rates an average of 10 percent. A decision on the requested rate hike could come next month.

JEFFERSON, Ore. - Two Oregon police officers killed along Interstate 5 by a drowsy driver ten years ago were honored with a memorial sign along the highway where they died. But in an ironic twist, people attending the ceremony got a vivid demonstration of the dangers of distracted driving.

Salem, OREGON – The Oregon Supreme Court has sided with five juvenile killers who’ve long maintained the state treats them more harshly than adult murderers. The high court Thursday called on the Oregon Board of Parole to schedule hearings and even decide on release dates for two of the five.

The Eugene-based Oregon Toxics Alliance has published a report that looks at pesticide use on 5 state highways in Lane County. The organization wants the state to reduce its use of chemicals along roadways.

Pages