Kristian Foden-Vencil

Reporter, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a veteran journalist/producer working for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He started as a cub reporter for newspapers in London, England in 1988. Then in 1991 he moved to Oregon and started freelancing. His work has appeared in publications as varied as The Oregonian, the BBC, the Salem Statesman Journal, Willamette Week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NPR and the Voice of America. Kristian has won awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists and the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. He was embedded with the Oregon National Guard in Iraq in 2004 and now specializes in business, law, health and politics. 

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

President Barack Obama was at Nike's campus near Beaverton Friday, pitching the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. 

The president said a progressive, high standard trade agreement like the Trans-Pacific Partnership would open new markets and support high quality jobs. He used Nike factories across the world as an example.

photologue_np / Flickr

Oregon's unemployment rate has fallen below the national average and it's the first time that's happened in 19 years.

The last year has been good to Oregon's economy.

The unemployment rate has plummeted from more than 7 percent to 5.4 percent. That's one-tenth of a percentage point below the national average.

State economist David Cooke said the last time Oregon had a lower unemployment rate than the nation, was in 1996, the height of the dot-com boom.

Andy Maguire / Flickr

Congressional Democrats from up and down the West Coast are asking the House Appropriations Committee to allocate more money for a new earthquake early warning system.

The warning system uses sensors to detect the initial, less destructive, waves of an earthquake. So it doesn't give much advance notice -- between a few seconds and a minute.

But politicians argued that's enough for a doctor to stop a complicated surgery, a train driver to put on the brakes, or a family to move away from the windows.

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Oregon scientists are trying to figure out how a fish, native to Japan, was pulled out of a crab pot on the Oregon coast - alive.

“I’ve been thinking about it ever since I heard about it,” says John Chapman, an invasive species expert at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

He says there’s only a handful of ways the striped knifejaw could make it here: in the ballast water of a ship; someone could have dumped their aquarium into the ocean; or the fish survived under debris washed out to sea after the Japanese tsunami.

Tara Schmidt / Flickr

People who've undergone 'conversion therapy' to try to change their sexual orientation told lawmakers Monday that the therapy doesn't work and is emotionally damaging. 

Lawmakers are considering a bill to stop therapists from performing 'conversion therapy' on minors. The therapy covers a range of treatments aimed at changing sexual orientation.

Back in 1987, Jason Zenobia said his parents sent him to conversion therapy when he told them he was gay.

Cover Oregon

One of the first things legislators are expected to do when the session starts next week, is to put an end to 'Cover Oregon'. The state's failed health insurance exchange.

Speaking about the up-coming session, Democrats, Republicans and Governor John Kitzhaber all agree: 'Cover Oregon' is finished.

"What we'll simply be doing is folding the remaining functions of what was 'Cover Oregon' into the insurance division," Kitzhaber said.

The leader of the Senate Republicans, Ted Ferrioli, agreed.

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Currently, if a doctor wants to talk to a patient about dying, he or she has to do it off-the-clock. They can't bill insurance companies for the time.

Portland Democrat, Earl Blumenauer, says he has 60 co-sponsors for his bill to allow such conversations to be covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

"It will pay for a 93-year-old woman with terminal cancer to have her hip replaced, but it won't pay a couple of hundred bucks for the doctor to have a conversation with this woman and her family to find out what her wishes are," he said.

Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

An Oregon man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for plotting to bomb a crowded holiday event in Portland's town square in 2010.

Mohamed Mohamud was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Portland in a plot that actually was an FBI sting.

Governor John Kitzhaber says the state signed a contract Thursday, with a company for an independent assessment of the problems with Oregon's health insurance exchange website.

Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues its slow decline. It reached 8.2 percent in March.

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