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Northwest news in brief

Ore. rural incomes don’t compare

PORTLAND (AP) — A state study that reflects the long-term decline of logging and milling in Oregon’s economy shows that rural Oregonians’ incomes have slipped markedly when compared with the incomes of their peers nationwide.

The study of 2011 data from the state Employment Department shows that rural Oregonians earn, per capita, about 25 percent less than their city counterparts in the state — $39,267 in the 11 counties considered urban, $31,383 in the rest of the state.

The difference of $7,884 was due primarily to the difference in earnings from work, the Oregonian reported Monday.

The study points up the erosion of rural incomes relative to national averages and attributes it in large part to the timber business. Economists and political leaders often point to the state versus national income comparisons as a signal of Oregon’s sluggish economy.

Wash. halts abortion coverage bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Despite a majority of Washington state senators having signed a letter in support of a measure requiring insurers to cover abortion, a key lawmaker said Monday that it will not advance from her committee.

Republican Sen. Randi Becker of Eatonville, chairwoman of the Senate Health Care Committee, announced that the bill would not move forward hours after her panel heard testimony on it.

“Even advocates of the bill admit that there is no need for the bill today as every health insurer in the state of Washington provides for abortion coverage,” said Becker in a written statement. “As such, the decision of the committee is that the bill will not move forward from here this year.”

Last coal partner drops Coos Bay

GRANTS PASS (AP) — The last partner has dropped out of a proposal to ship coal from Montana and Wyoming to Asia through Oregon’s Port of Coos Bay, port officials announced Monday.

Metropolitan Stevedore Company of Wilmington, Calif., known as Metro Ports, did not renew the exclusive negotiating agreement that expired Sunday, the port said. Two other partners dropped out earlier.

Port CEO David Koch said the port was continuing to develop new shipping facilities, but did not say if that would include coal.

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