05-08-2021  1:16 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Extends COVID Workplace Mask Rule Indefinitely

State officials say the rule, which garnered thousands of public comments, will be in place until it is “no longer necessary to address the effects of the pandemic in the workplace.”

As Reparations Hit Roadblock, Oregon Lawmakers Look to U.S. Congress and Cities

Sen. Frederick pushed for eligible Black Oregonians to receive a lifetime annuity as remedy for slavery, systemic racism.

Landmark Gun Safety Bill Clears Final Vote

The Oregon Senate repassed Senate Bill 554 – approving modifications made in the House to add storage and safety requirements among the bill’s components.

Shooting Highlights Lack of Body Cams Among Portland Police

Two police officers raised their weapons while sheltering behind a tree in a Portland park. They yelled at a homeless man to put up his hands. Moments later, two shots rang out.

NEWS BRIEFS

Street Gallery: Crossing the Redline

Street Gallery, invites the public to an intergenerational art exhibit: “Crossing the Redline” ...

Unemployment Fix Passes Oregon Senate, Helps Get More Oregonians Back to Work

Many Oregon employers believe this policy will help support their rapidly changing workforce needs, COVID-19 regulations, and worker...

Concrete Wall Around Seattle Police Precinct Comes Down

The city decided to take the wall down after hearing from the community ...

Peloton Recalls Treadmills, Halts Sales, After a Child Dies

Peloton is recalling about 125,000 of its treadmills less than a month after denying they were dangerous and saying it would not pull...

Free Online Classes Promote Sustainable Living

Clark County’s Master Composter Recycler program is offering a series of free sustainable living webinars this spring. ...

Judge nixes reduced Klamath River flows for sucker fish

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — A judge has ruled against the Klamath Tribes in a lawsuit that accuses federal regulators of violating the Endangered Species Act by letting water levels fall too low for sucker fish to spawn in a lake that also feeds an elaborate irrigation system along the...

Portland: Feds to blame for cops failure in settlement deal

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland city officials said they welcome constructive criticism from federal Justice Department lawyers who found the Police Bureau has failed to adhere to a settlement governing officers’ use of force. But officials also blame the federal government for contributing to...

OPINION

OP-ED: The Supreme Court Can Protect Black Lives by Ending Qualified Immunity

The three officers responsible for the murder of Breonna Taylor are not the first to walk free after killing an unarmed Black person, and unfortunately, especially if things continue as they are, they will not be the last. ...

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trade Arron Rodgers

Give Aaron Rodgers a break, Green Bay. Just like Bart Starr & Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers has been a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Packers for 16 years. ...

Editorial From the Publisher - Council: Police Reform Needed Now

Through years of ceaseless protest, activists have tried to hold Portland Police to account. ...

After the Verdicts

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum shares her thoughts after the verdicts ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

In the French language, steps forward and back for women

LE PECQ, France (AP) — The fight to make the French language kinder to women took steps forward, and back, this week. Warning that the well-being of France and its future are at stake, the government banned the use in schools of a method increasingly used by some French...

Rachel Zoll, much-admired AP religion writer, dead at 55

Rachel Zoll, who for 17 years as religion writer for The Associated Press endeared herself to colleagues, competitors and sources with her warm heart and world-class reporting skills, died Friday in Amherst, Massachusetts, after a three-year bout with brain cancer. She was 55. ...

Man charged in stabbings of 2 Asian women a no-show in court

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The arraignment of a man who allegedly stabbed two older women without warning at a San Francisco bus stop was postponed Friday after he refused to leave his jail cell and appear in court. Patrick Thompson's arraignment on charges of attempted murder,...

ENTERTAINMENT

Jhené Aiko, Saweetie to perform on AAPI advocacy TV special

NEW YORK (AP) — Platinum-selling performers of part-Asian descent, including R&B singer Jhené Aiko and rapper Saweetie, will perform on a TV special produced by The Asian American Foundation, the newly formed organization launched to improve AAPI advocacy. TAAF announced...

In the shadow of COVID-19, a toll on entertainment workers

NEW YORK (AP) — Like so many, the pandemic upended life for actor and dancer Rena Riffel. The Los Angeles-based performer needed help with rent, utilities and counselling when jobs suddenly dried up. “Being an artist, we are already very fragile with our finances," she...

David Oyelowo fulfills new directing passion in 'Water Man'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — While starring in films like “Selma” and “Lee Daniels' The Butler,” actor David Oyelowo discovered a new passion: directing. Oyelowo was inspired to step behind-the-camera after learning different nuances of the craft from respected directors like...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Last wild macaw in Rio is lonely and looking for love

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Some have claimed she’s indulging a forbidden romance. More likely, loneliness compels...

Texas GOP's voting restriction bill passes House

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas has become the latest Republican-dominated state to advance sweeping new limits on...

Corruption, economic woes spark deadly protests in Colombia

BUCARAMANGA, Colombia (AP) — Kevin Anthony Agudelo wanted to live in a country where corruption was not part of...

Ethiopian Orthodox Church patriarch blasts Tigray 'genocide'

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in his first public comments on the war in the...

Ahead of Harris meeting, Mexico president accuses US

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Just before an online meeting with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris Friday, Mexico President...

Deadly police shootout prompts claims of abuse in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A bloody, hour-long gunbattle in a Rio de Janeiro slum echoed into Friday, with...

By The Skanner News

SEATTLE (AP) — A man who once served as the Justice Department's top official in Seattle said Tuesday that he is sponsoring an initiative to legalize possession of up to an ounce of dried marijuana in Washington state, a measure he hopes will help "shame Congress" into ending pot prohibition.

John McKay spent five years enforcing federal drug laws as the U.S. attorney in Seattle before he was fired by the Bush administration in early 2007. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that laws criminalizing marijuana are wrongheaded because they create an enormous black market exploited by international cartels and crime rings.

"That's what drives my concern: The black market fuels the cartels, and that's what allows them to buy the guns they use to kill people," McKay said. "A lot of Americans smoke pot and they're willing to pay for it. I think prohibition is a dumb policy, and there are a lot of line federal prosecutors who share the view that the policy is suspect."

McKay is joining Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, travel guide Rick Steves and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in forming a group called New Approach Washington. They're pushing an initiative to the Legislature that would regulate the recreational use of marijuana in a way similar to how the state regulates alcohol. Their bill would legalize marijuana for people over 21, authorize the Liquor Control Board to regulate and tax marijuana for sale in "standalone stores," and extend drunken driving laws to marijuana, with blood tests to determine how much of pot's active ingredient is present in a driver's blood.

New Approach Washington planned a news conference Wednesday to announce the effort. No state has legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in such a way, though some have decriminalized it, and the initiative would put Washington squarely at odds with federal law banning the drug.

The legislation would set limits on how much cannabis people can have: an ounce of dried bud, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused foods in solid form, and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids, or all three, said Alison Holcomb, drug policy director of the ACLU of Washington. The limits are necessary to help ensure that people don't buy large amounts for resale in other states, she said.

The bill would not allow for the recreational growing of marijuana; it would be up to the state's Liquor Control Board to license grow operations and set limits for how large they can be. The measure would not affect the rights of medical marijuana patients in Washington, who are allowed to have at least 24 ounces and 15 plants, and more if needed.

Activists would have until the end of this year to gather more than 240,000 signatures to get the initiative before the Legislature. Lawmakers will have a chance to approve it or allow it to go to the ballot.

Taxing marijuana sales would bring the state $215 million a year, conservatively estimated, Holmes said.

Another group, Sensible Washington, is already pushing a legalization initiative this year that would remove all state criminal and civil penalties for marijuana use, possession and cultivation in any amount. Their effort is an initiative directly to the voters, meaning that if it qualifies for the November ballot and passes, it would become law without any input from the Legislature.

Sensible Washington failed to gather enough signatures to make the ballot last year, and Seattle medical marijuana attorney Douglas Hiatt, who leads the effort, said Tuesday he did not know whether their measure would qualify this year. Hiatt criticized the approach of the ACLU-led effort, saying it wouldn't allow Eastern Washington's farmers to grow hemp or really end prohibition at all. Furthermore, he said, the blood test limit for driving under the influence purposes — 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood — are so strict that most medical marijuana patients would fail even if they hadn't recently medicated.

Last year in California, voters rejected Proposition 19, which would have allowed for personal possession and growing of limited amounts of marijuana, 54 percent to 46 percent.

In a telephone interview from Idaho, where he was about to leave on a six-day rafting trip on the Salmon River, McKay said he has long considered marijuana prohibition a failed policy, but that as U.S. attorney his job was to enforce federal law, and he had no problem doing so. Among the people he prosecuted was Canada's so-called "Prince of Pot," Marc Emery, who fought extradition after his 2005 arrest but eventually was sentenced to five years in prison for selling millions of marijuana seeds to U.S. residents.

"When you look at alcohol prohibition, it took the states to say, 'This policy is wrong,'" McKay said. "This bill might not be perfect, but it's a good step forward. I think it will eventually shame Congress into action."

Holmes said McKay's involvement in the legalization effort helps demonstrate its sensibility.

"Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, in law enforcement or a medical provider, you look at the data and you come to the same conclusion: The war on drugs has failed," he said.

 

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