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Winds fan Washington wildfire, threaten homes

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Residents of hundreds of homes were urged to evacuate Wednesday as a wind-driven central Washington wildfire raced through heavy timber, sending up a towering column of smoke. Residents of 860 homes have been told they should leave immediately, fire spokesman Rick Acosta said Wednesday night. A Chelan County emergency management spokeswoman said earlier that another 800 homes were less seriously threatened.

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Multiple fires burn in Oregon

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A highway through the Ochoco Mountains of central Oregon remains closed by a wildfire, but the threat to about 10 scattered homes and ranches eased. Fire officials said Wednesday the Bailey Butte fire — part of the Waterman Complex — had burned more than 2,000 acres west of Mitchell and was moving south into the Ochoco National Forest.

Oregon governor John Kitzhaber declares fire emergency

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has issued an emergency declaration in response to wildfires. Kitzhaber's verbal declaration on Wednesday enables the Oregon National Guard to assist with firefighting as needed.

Democrats press for free contraception for women

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an election-year pitch to female voters, Democrats on Wednesday pressed for legislation that would restore free contraception for women who get their health insurance from companies that object on religious grounds.

Swastika put on Jewish mailbox

EUGENE (AP) — Eugene police are investigating swastikas that were found painted onto mailboxes near a Jewish fraternity near the University of Oregon. The Register-Guard says the mailbox belongs to a neighboring apartment complex but directly faces the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

Man admits aiming laser at planes

PORTLAND (AP) — A Portland man charged with aiming a laser beam at two commercial airliners flying toward Portland International Airport last fall has pleaded guilty in federal court.

SAIF returns $8.5 million to businesses

SALEM — Oregon businesses that participate in the Associated General Contractors (AGC)/SAIF Workers’ Compensation Program are receiving an $8.5 million retrospective return on their 2012-2013 plan year premium.

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Review: Systematic errors led to Washington bridge collapse

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Insufficient route planning, a distracted pilot driver and an inadequate permitting process by the state of Washington all played a part in last year’s Interstate 5 bridge collapse north of Seattle, which sent two cars into a river below, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

Northwest news in brief

Wheeler County Sheriff Chris Humphreys said late Monday night that the Bailey Butte fire has burned across about 800 acres in an area where the Ochoco National Forest meets rangeland. He says local fire departments are protecting homes and so far no residences have burned.

Seattle council enacts new rideshare car rules

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle City Council on Monday passed new rules regulating rideshare companies, allowing them to operate in the city without a limit on the number of cars.

Drought causes irrigators to run short of water

NYSSA (AP) — In the third year of a drought, reservoirs in far Eastern Oregon are low.

Oregon nears goal for school minority hiring

PORTLAND (AP) — State officials set a goal of adding 10 percent more minority principals and school administrators by 2015

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Lightning sparks regional fires

White River Canyon blaze continues while others are quickly extinguished UPDATE July 15, 2014.

Crews battle Washington fire

Central Washington blaze threatens 200 homes

Rain, not temperatures, may be key to bird adaptation to climate change in Northweast

A new model analyzing how birds in western North America will respond to climate change suggests that for most species, regional warming is not as likely to influence population trends as will precipitation changes.

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