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Oregon Third Party
6:25 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Oregon Could Soon Have Third Major Political Party

The Independent Party is less than 300 voters away from reaching the threshold that would make them a major political party in Oregon.
Credit Chris Phan / Flickr

  The Independent Party is on the cusp of becoming Oregon’s third major political party.

Under state law a major party must have at least 5 percent of the number of voters who were registered at the last general election. The Independent Party is less than 300 voters away from reaching that threshold.

If they reach that status by next summer, it would mean that taxpayers would fund Independent Party primaries in 2016, just like they already do for Democrats and Republicans.

The Independent Party was founded just eight years ago.

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Defense Spending Bill
5:55 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Congress Passes Northwest Land Deals, But Nothing For O&C Forests

A hiker walks in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness that is set to expand in the new defense spending bill finalized on Friday.
Credit Miguel Vieira / Flickr

Several Northwest land deals cleared Congress Friday with the Senate's final vote on a defense spending bill.

The land deals were tacked onto a $585 billion military spending package. They included large expansions for Oregon Caves National Monument and Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington. They also created a new national historical park at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. 

But Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio said there's one major land deal missing from the package.

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Hanford Museum
5:55 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Congress Approves Nuclear History Park At Hanford

Congress has approved a new national park in Washington state that commemorates the Manhattan Project at Hanford.

The defense spending bill passed by Congress Friday included the biggest expansion of the national parks system in decades.

If this bill is signed into law by President Obama, it could bring thousands more visitors to the B Reactor at the Hanford Site. The reactor was the first full scale nuclear reactor and was built during World War II.

100,000 people visited the museum last year through the Department of Energy tours.

Tribal Marijuana
5:36 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Tribes Reluctant To Follow Northwest Voters On Legal Marijuana

Northwest tribes are in no rush to legalize marijuana although the U.S. Department of Justice opened the door to a legalized pot market on tribal land.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The U.S. Department of Justice this week opened the door to a legalized pot market on tribal land.

But many Northwest tribes appear to be in no rush to go in the direction of Oregon and Washington voters.

The Department of Justice said it will treat Indian tribes that legalize pot with the same hands-off prosecutorial approach that it has treated states with legal marijuana. That means there could be a potentially lucrative marijuana business on reservations even in states like Idaho, where pot remains illegal.

But the decision depends on the tribe.

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Western Wind Storm
5:22 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Harrowing Moments In Midst Of Wind Storm

A large tree toppled onto a car in Olympia’s South Capitol neighborhood taking with it power lines. The force of the tree also snapped a power pole.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

There is a lot of clean up underway across western Oregon and Washington after a wind storm hammered the region Thursday night.

In Olympia’s South Capitol neighborhood, there was a harrowing moment. A tree toppled into power lines and onto a parked car. Scott Freeman lives on the block.

“It was a pretty loud shudder of the whole house because it pulled my lines off the side of my house. So, it yanked all the lines. I didn’t actually hear the tree go down, but the transformer exploded,” Freeman said.

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Western Wind Storm
5:21 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Wind Storm Means Long Hours, Christmas Money For Power Crews

Mark Vosburg works for utility contractor Potelco. He said windstorms mean double time pay and extra money for Christmas.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The lights are back on for many of those who lost power during the windstorm that walloped western Oregon and Washington Thursday night. But repair crews are still hard at work across the region.

Mark Vosburg is a utility contractor for Potelco. He said he expects to work 39 hours, have six of them off, and then work another 18 hour shift.

“Once you’re out here and you’re out running around, you’re just awake,” Vosburg said.

Vosburg expressed he looks forward to this time of year in his line of business.

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Spy Proof Room
5:53 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Expert: Wash. Data Center Could Have Future As Foil-Wrapped Secret Room

File photo of one of the built out data halls in Washington's data center.
Credit Washington Consolidated Technology Services

 

     

A foil-wrapped secret room is a plausible use for unused portions of Washington’s new data center. That’s according to a national expert on what Time Magazine has dubbed “spy-proof rooms.”

You’ve likely never heard of a SCIF. Unless you’re a fan of the TV show Drop Dead Diva.

“Excuse me, what’s a SCIF? It is a Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility,” the show says.

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Helicopter Rescue
5:01 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Newport Coast Guard Helicopter Base Will Remain Open

Newport Coast Guard Helicopter Base had been slated to close this month, but Democratic members of the Oregon delegation reauthorized a bill that will keep the base open through January 1, 2016.
Credit Coast Guard News / Flickr

    

The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter base in Newport will stay open. It had been slated to close this month to save the Coast Guard $6 million.

Democratic members of the Oregon delegation negotiated the language in the coast guard reauthorization bill. It will prohibit the closure of any air facilities in the U.S. for the next year.

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Measure 92
4:31 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Supporters Of Food Labeling Measure Throw In The Towel

More than one month after the election supporters of Measure 92, which would have required food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods, have conceded defeat.
Credit Stephen D. Melkisethian / Flickr

Supporters of a food labeling measure in Oregon have conceded defeat, more than one month after the election. Measure 92 would have required food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. It produced the most expensive initiative campaign in Oregon history. The difference between the "no" and "yes" votes was so close, it triggered the first statewide recount in more than six years. That recount is largely confirming the initial totals.

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Marijuana Revenue Donation
9:57 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Sometimes, It’s Hard To Give Away Money

Credit markemark4 / Flickr

It’s not always easy to give money to charity. Sometimes… people just don’t want it.

Last month, a farmer in Prosser auctioned off his marijuana harvest. It was Washington’s first such auction. Randy Williams, owner of Fireweed Farms, wanted to “get rid of it all quick.” And he did, selling 300 pounds of pot for $600,000.

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