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Bills aim to prevent or mitigate oil-train disaster

SALEM (AP) — Native Americans, environmentalists and a fishing guide spoke out Monday in support of two bills that aim to prevent, or at least mitigate, an ecological disaster like an oil spill into the Columbia River.

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Federal court dismisses UP lawsuit

Rail officials say ruling will be appealed

The legal back and forth over the proposed four-mile extension of a railroad siding at Mosier continues. On March 8, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken dismissed a lawsuit filed by Union Pacific Railroad in January because the railroad failed to include three Indian treaty tribes as defendants in the case.

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Counting homeless not easy

PORTLAND (AP) — Emily Nelson veered around potholes while her boss decoded a map spotted with orange triangles where homeless people have been reported over the last two years. Nelson patrols Southeast Portland as an outreach worker for JOIN, a nonprofit that helps connect people to housing and runs a day center with laundry vouchers, meals and showers in the meantime.

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OR board votes to sell oldest state forest

SALEM (AP) — Oregon's state Land Board voted 2-1 on Tuesday to sell the state's oldest public forest. Gov. Kate Brown, the board chair, clashed with its sole Republican member as she attempted to keep the preserve in public hands and at least delayed the sale.

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Cold brings higher power bills

In the midst of this extended cold snap, some PUD customers have gotten hot under the collar after opening their power bills. A few have taken to Facebook to vent, and the Northern Wasco County PUD also got on Facebook to explain what’s behind the spike in price.

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Leaders push for Mt. Hood land exchange

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Representatives Greg Walden (R-Hood River) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland), introduced legislation this week to push forward a long-stalled land exchange on Mount Hood.

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Winter challenges the homeless in OR Central Oregon

BEND (AP) — The sounds of cars buzzing down U.S. Highway 97 echo inside Ron Moore's tent, where he sits on an army cot covered with a University of Oregon comforter. It's about 60 degrees inside the three-person tent, which is insulated by five layers of tarps and heavyweight blankets. But outside, the ground is blanketed by two feet of snow and the temperature hovers just above freezing.

Corps to assess ice jam risk on Snake River

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ deployed a team of technical experts Friday to assess ice jam conditions and flood risks on the Snake River in Oregon and Idaho, according to a press release. The ice jam appears to be at least 10 miles long, stretching from Washington to Payette County on the Snake River in Idaho and Malheur County in Oregon, according to local observations.

County alarmed over state budget

Technical assistance grants not included in Brown’s proposal

Wasco County officials are concerned about the proposed budget presented by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown for the 2017-19 biennium, which does not include grants to help local jurisdictions meet statewide land use planning requirements.

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UP files suit on Mosier project

Union Pacific Railroad has sued the Wasco County Commission in federal court over its rejection of a proposed expansion of tracks near Mosier.

Man with TD ties injured in shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — An Ohio woman was one of five victims of the Florida airport shooting and her husband, who has ties to The Dalles, was critically injured in the attack.

Storm will impact gorge travel, I-84

Columbia River Gorge braces for winter storm The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast at 11 a.m. today warned Columbia River Gorge emergency responders, travelers and residents that a significant snow dump at all elevations is forecasted this evening and into tomorrow, according to the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office. The focus of the alert was the central and western gorge. According to the National Weather Service’s Portland office, the service has “upgraded the winter weather advisory to a winter storm warning, which is in effect until 4 p.m. Wednesday. An additional 8 to 14 inches of snow is likely in the central and western gorge.

State budget takes center stage

In October, Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, expressed concern that state officials would divert general fund dollars from veterans’ programs if Measure 96 was approved by voters on Nov. 8. He said that concern became reality when Gov. Kate Brown proposed a $10 million cut in regular funding for veteran services in her 2017-19 budget plan.

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Radioactive contamination spreads in shuttered Hanford plant

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — Radioactive contamination is spreading inside a deteriorating processing plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state that was last used in the 1950s and 1960s to process plutonium for the U.S. nuclear weapons program.

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Quiet land battle unfolds in E. OR

JOHN DAY — A judge this fall dissolved the Grant County Public Forest Commission at the behest of a former county supervisor who worried it was becoming a risk, citing the takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in a neighboring county. The commissioners feel they lost, by the stroke of a judge's pen, a tool voters gave them to fight back.

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