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Pacific Northwest new in brief, Jan. 18

State police seek diesel thieves

Oregon State Police is seeking information and asking to speak to possible victims related to an investigation into the theft of diesel fuel in several central and eastern Oregon counties including Wasco. The thefts are suspected to have occurred between May 2012 and Jan. 2014.

An ongoing investigation to this point indicates typical targets of the fuel thefts were heavy equipment, farm implements, and fixed fuel storage containers ranging from 50 to over 1000 gallons. The thefts likely occurred in remote and rural areas including Crook, Jefferson, Wheeler, Grant, Morrow, Gilliam, Umatilla, Union, Harney, Malheur, Wallowa, Deschutes, Wasco, Sherman, and Hood River counties.

Any victims or persons with information regarding the investigation are asked to call Oregon State Police Northern Command Center at 800-452-7888 or email Senior Trooper Mike Mayer at MMayer@osp.state.or.us.

Judge allows coyote hunt

PORTLAND (AP) — The hunt will go on.

A Harney County judge on Friday rejected an attempt to postpone a coyote-killing contest scheduled for this weekend in the high desert of southeastern Oregon.

The ruling comes a day after the Animal Legal Defense Fund and two co-plaintiffs filed a lawsuit stating the annual event violates state gambling laws. Lawyers sought a temporary restraining order that would prevent the event from taking place.

Judge William Cramer Jr. denied the emergency request, saying the lawsuit was filed so late it did not give the defendant proper time to respond and the applicants weren’t at risk of immediate, irreparable harm. The next hearing is scheduled for March 21.

Event organizer Duane Freilino said more than 100 supporters of the contest showed up at the courthouse in Burns, 285 miles southeast of Portland.

Workers begin borer inspection

SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington Transportation Department spokeswoman says workers have begun a close-up inspection of the cutter face of a giant machine that got stuck 60 feet underground while digging a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle.

Spokeswoman Laura Newborn says the inspection started late Friday afternoon and work will continue this weekend. The Seattle Times reports (http://is.gd/A4e6af ) that teams of five to six people will clean and examine the cutter in three-hour shifts, working in air at 1.4 times atmospheric pressure. Then they will spend an hour in a tank aboard the tunnel drill, to gradually decompress to normal pressure.

Drilling was halted Dec. 6 by a blockage. Since then, crews have pumped water away from the surrounding soil and sprayed in a clay slurry to help form a crust so compressed air could be pumped in, providing a gap where workers can inspect the cutter.

Serial killer admits old slayings

PORTLAND (AP) — A man who confessed to killing women decades ago was sentenced Friday to life in an Oregon prison with no chance for parole. Jeffrey Cutlip, 64, pleaded guilty last fall to the murders of Marlene Claire Carlson, Julie Marie Bennett and Nielen Loribell Doll. Carlson and Bennett were killed in the 1970s, and Doll was killed in 1993.

Cutlip did not make a statement before he was sentenced in Portland. He has a long criminal history and was required to register as a sex offender in Oregon after he was charged in 1982 with burglary and sodomy in attacks on two other women.

But he avoided murder charges until 2012, when he contacted police while living in Texas and admitted killing four women in Oregon. Police have so far been able to confirm only three killings, but the investigation isn’t over.

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