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Northwest news in brief

Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, speaks on the floor of the state House of Representatives in Salem, Ore., on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. The House voted on key pieces of the Democratic budget proposal.

Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, speaks on the floor of the state House of Representatives in Salem, Ore., on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. The House voted on key pieces of the Democratic budget proposal. AP Photo/Jonathan J. Cooper

Health plan shift isn’t planned

SALEM (AP) — Oregon’s top legislative budget officials say they haven’t seriously discussed dropping health insurance coverage for part-time state workers to shift some of their costs to the federal government.

Political leaders in Washington state are exploring a plan that would shift some government workers out of their current health plans and onto the insurance exchange developed under the health care law championed by President Barack Obama.

Oregon Sen. Richard Devlin and Rep. Peter Buckley, co-chairmen of the Legislature’s budget committee, say no similar plan is being considered in Salem.

The Washington state plan would save money for the state government but threatens to affect the federal budget and the pocketbooks of some part-time workers.

Prineville man bound and robbed

PRINEVILLE (AP) — The Crook County sheriff’s office says a 73-year-old Prineville man was robbed at his home and left tied up so tightly his injured hands nearly needed to be amputated.

Officers went to the home Wednesday night after an Oregon state trooper stopped his car in Redmond because the 20-year-old driver was driving with the lights out.

The driver said he borrowed the car, so officers were dispatched to check with the owner. Looking through a kitchen window they saw the 73-year-old tied to a chair with his hands behind his back. They were swollen and bleeding.

The sheriff’s office says the emergency room doctor said if he had been tied much longer he might have lost his hands.

The 20-year-old is jailed on robbery and assault charges.

Eugene allows homeless camping

EUGENE (AP) — The Eugene City Council voted Wednesday in favor of allowing the homeless to camp overnight on some city property, but not parks.

The Register-Guard reports the vote will lead to a proposed ordinance for a four-month test. The homeless also would be allowed to camp on church property or private property with the permission of owners.

The move is a response to homeless advocates who urged the council to legalize camping in parks.

Thief steals thousands in gems

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. (AP) — Pierce County, Wash., sheriff’s detectives are trying to identify the sensitive thief involved in stealing thousands of gemstones from a truck in University Place, near Tacoma.

Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer tells KOMO-TV the Oregon sunstones vanished April 9 when someone broke into a truck parked at a golf course.

In additional to about 3,000 gemstones, the thief took a suitcase containing the victim’s son’s ashes. Troyer says the ashes were anonymously mailed back to the victim several days later.

Troyer says detectives believe the gems were taken in a random car prowl.

The spokesman says most of the gems are brown and olive-green in color. There are many different colors of sunstone so values range widely. Troyer did not estimate the gems’ value but said it was high.

The Oregon sunstone is the official state gemstone of Oregon.

Information from: KOMO-TV, http://www.komotv.com/

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