Northwest News

Cover Oregon Lawsuit
5:46 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Oregon, Oracle Tangle In Federal Court

A federal court judge in Portland said Friday that for now, Oracle can’t have its way and keep its suit against the state of Oregon.

The case and a counter suit are about the failed health insurance exchange website called “Cover Oregon". Oracle was the chief technology firm that put it together. The website never really worked as it intended to, so the state wanted to get some compensation for all the money it sent to the site. 

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Immigration
5:08 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Farmworker Advocate Says Obama’s Move On Deportation Doesn’t Do Enough For Agricultural Workers

Rosalinda Guillen estimated the national number of farmworkers to be affected by President Obama's deportation change is about 250,000, but is unsure what it is for Washington state.
Credit Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Rosalinda Guillen heads Community to Community Development, a group that advocates for farmworker rights. She said she doesn’t know how many of them in Washington state President Obama's deportation change will apply to, but nationally the estimate is about 250,000.

“We are really concerned about the number of farmworkers that will actually qualify under this executive action and then whether there’s going to be real relief so that the agricultural industry has what they’ve been asking for all along, quote unquote, a legal workforce,” Guillen said.

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GMO Measure Recount
5:51 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Oregon's Food Labeling Measure Appears Headed For Recount

A ballot measure in Oregon that would require labels on genetically engineered foods could be heading for a recount.
Lindsay Eyink

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 7:09 pm

It appears Oregon is headed for its first statewide ballot measure recount in more than six years.

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Christmas Trees
5:08 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Your Christmas Tree Might Cost More This Year

A stronger economy and several years of cutbacks on plantings in the Northwest have upped prices of Christmas trees.
Credit Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association

Some of the world’s largest Christmas tree farms are right here in the Northwest. Some are harvesting about 20,000 trees a day. The average Christmas tree might be a bit more expensive this year.

Here's why.

A stronger economy and several years of cutbacks on plantings in the Northwest have upped prices this year. Like a few dollars per tree for the farmer.

Bryan Ostlund heads the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association in Salem, Oregon.

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WSU Medical School
4:44 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

WSU President Hopes To Present 'Unified Front' On Medical School

An existing building on the WSU Spokane campus would be used for the proposed medical school.
Credit Washington State University

This January, Washington State University plans to ask lawmakers for permission to open a medical school in Spokane.

The question is will the University of Washington oppose that effort? It currently runs its own prominent medical school.

WSU President Elson Floyd said his goal is to avoid what one lawmaker has termed the “Apple Cup of medical schools.”

“We are in the process now of negotiating those things so it’s my hope that we’ll be able to present a unified front to the legislature as we go forward next year,” Floyd said.

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Hanford Lawsuit
4:37 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Hanford Watchdogs And Union Intend To Sue Federal Government Over Tank Vapors At Site

Three groups intend to sue the U.S. Department of Energy and a contractor over vapors from storage tanks at Hanford.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

Thursday three groups with ties to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation announced they intend to sue the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor.

Seattle-based watchdog group Hanford Challenge, a Richland workers’ union, and the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility are piling on. They said there’s been a lack of action at the Hanford site to correct worker exposures to harmful tank vapors.

The groups notified Energy and Hanford contractor Washington River Protection Solutions about the intent to sue in 90 days.

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Oregon Marijuana
7:19 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Oregon Lawmakers Could Make Changes To Pot Measure

A new law to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon takes effect next year.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A new law to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon doesn't begin to take effect until next year. That means state lawmakers have the chance to tweak the measure before it kicks in. A legislative panel discussed some options Wednesday at the state capitol.

Measure 91 allows adults in Oregon to grow, possess, and sell marijuana under state regulation. Just what that state regulation looks like is still being determined. Democratic Senator Lee Beyer reminded his colleagues that there's nothing to stop them from putting their own stamp on the voter-approved measure.

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Housing
7:12 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Informal Mortgage Arrangements Leave Undocumented Buyers Vulnerable To Losing It All

Credit U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development & National Fair Housing Alliance

Even as the White House moves to announce an executive order overhauling American immigration policy, many people who bought houses while living here illegally will continue to face fallout from unorthodox real estate deals. Historically, undocumented immigrants have had few options for formal financing, leading to informal arrangements with some risky consequences.

After an early morning shift at the warehouse where she packs apples, Maria rests her elbows on the kitchen counter of her tidy home in the Yakima Valley.

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Wildfires
5:37 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Protecting Forests From Increasing Wildfires

Ecologists plan to help forests today that will slow wildfires in the future.
Credit Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

This summer, the Carlton Complex wildfire swept through central Washington’s Methow Valley. The fire consumed more acres than any other fire in the state’s history. Now, ecologists are trying to make forests more sustainable to help prevent these large-scale fires.

Fire ecologist Susan Prichard was driving from Seattle to her home in Winthrop just as the Carlton Complex fire picked up. “I saw the plume of smoke, and I felt the wind. At that moment, I hadn’t even possibly considered that the fire could race all the way down to the Columbia River,” Prichard said.

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Class Size Initiative
4:59 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Washington Class Size Measure Puts $2 Billion Dent in State Budget

Washington class size initiative puts squeeze on budget.
Credit Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Washington’s budget outlook is suddenly $2 billion in the red largely because of a class size reduction measure just approved by Washington voters.

That initiative adds to an already challenging budget picture when lawmakers convene in January.

“I think we have a significant problem here and we have work to do,” Democrat Ross Hunter said. He’s the chief budget writer in the Washington House.

Hunter believes additional tax revenues will be needed to balance the next budget. Senate Republican budget chair Andy Hill disagrees.

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