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Flood watch issued December 20, 2014

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Northwest news in brief

District eyes arming schools

EAGLE POINT, Ore. (AP) — A school district in southern Oregon is considering arming teachers and other staff members to protect students from school violence.

“The first three minutes of an armed attack require an armed response,” said Scott Grissom, president of the five-member school board in Eagle Point, a town of about 8,500 north of Medford.

Under Grissom’s plan, employees approved by the board would be trained in firearm safety, the Medford Mail Tribune (http://bit.ly/10i1vgf ) reported.

Those staffers would be allowed to carry firearms on school property during school hours, at school-sponsored events and board meetings. They would also get extra pay and liability insurance.

Bill would halt collection practice

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Debt collectors would have to stop using government stationery to send letters compelling people accused of writing bad checks to pay up, under a bill the Oregon House passed Friday.

The bill, which passed 47-2, targets the practice of private companies using a district attorney’s letterhead to send notices to people who write bad checks. The legislation would prohibit all public agencies and public officials from allowing debt collectors to use their seal or letterhead.

Critics say the collection practice is deceptive and has misled people to believe they are dealing with a government agency.

“It isn’t appropriate,” said Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, who spearheaded the legislation.

Authorities seek escapees

SALEM (AP) — The authorities are searching for two inmates who they say walked away from the Mill Creek Correctional Facility near Salem.

The Oregon Department of Corrections says 41-year-old Shane Willis and 38-year-old Tyson McComas were discovered missing from the minimum-security prison late Friday.

Willis entered state custody in April 2008 after a drug conviction in Marion County. His earliest release date is July 10, 2014.

McComas entered state custody last August on nine counts of criminal non-support out of Lane County. His earliest release date is July 25, 2015.

They were last seen wearing blue T-shirts with “inmate” stenciled in orange on the front and back.

Judge denies farmers’ motion

KLAMATH FALLS (AP) — A judge on Friday denied motions to temporarily stop the state of Oregon from shutting off irrigation on ranches in the upper Klamath Basin to satisfy water rights the Klamath Tribes are using to protect fish.

The Herald and News reported that Klamath County Circuit Judge Cameron Wogan denied motions filed by some upper basin ranchers seeking a temporary stay to enforcement of water rights. Proceedings on a permanent stay have not been scheduled, said court administrator Val Paulson.

Since the tribes issued what is known as a call this week to enforce those rights, the Oregon Water Resources Department has been notifying ranchers with junior water rights they must stop irrigating.

They started Wednesday on the Sprague River, telling ranchers with water rights dating to 1864 they must turn off pumps and shut headgates. Watermasters are expected to move on to the Williamson and Wood rivers in about a week.

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