11-17-2019  3:38 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act Introduced

In honor of Veterans Day, Monday, Merkley, Brown, Reed, Van Hollen introduced legislation to extend financial protections for servicemembers to veterans and consumers

Home Base Keeps More Than 400 Families in Their Homes in Seattle

The United Way of King County program aims to reduce homelessness by preventing evictions

Jefferson High Sees Gains in Freshman Preparedness, Graduation Rates

New support positions aim to increase attendance rates among students who often struggle with displacement, homelessness

Nike Cuts Ties With Amazon, but Shoes Won’t Vanish From Site

Nike wants to focus on selling its swoosh-branded gear on its own site and apps

NEWS BRIEFS

Noose Found at Oregon Health & Science University

Surveillance cameras did not capture the area; investigator are reviewing who had access ...

DEQ Extends Air Quality Advisory Due to Stagnation

DEQ expects the air quality advisory to last until at least Tuesday, Nov. 12 ...

Forest Service Waives Fees in Honor of Veterans Day

The USDA Forest Service will waive fees at day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington on Monday, Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans...

Two Local Nonprofits Announced as Grant Recipients for Portland-Area Programs

Financial Beginnings Oregon and Portland Parks Foundation will receive a total of 0,000 plus leadership resources through Bank of...

State Seeks Volunteers to Rank Investments in Washington’s Outdoors

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is recruiting 50 volunteers to evaluate grant proposals for parks, boating...

Cremated remains of 20 babies found at mortuary buried

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — The cremated remains of more than 20 babies that were found on mortuary shelves in Roseburg, Oregon will be buried Sunday a special ceremony.The remains were discovered by a woman who was searching for the unclaimed remains of veterans who had not received funerals. A...

Recycling down in Oregon, advocates blame plastic

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon is not very good at recycling, and it’s getting worse, according to a new report. Overall recycling rates in the state have steadily declined for the last several years, even as the amount of waste generated per person in the state has grown.The report,...

Trask, stingy defense lead Florida over Missouri, 23-6

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Nothing about Kyle Trask’s path to becoming Florida’s starting quarterback was easy. Something as trivial as a sluggish first half doesn’t rattle him.Trask threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter to help No. 11 Florida shake free of Missouri...

No. 11 Gators head to Mizzou hoping for another turnaround

It was only a year ago that Dan Mullen was asked about the state of his Florida program after he watched his team get humiliated by Missouri in the Swamp.His response already has become the stuff of legend.“They keep score. Someone wins and someone loses,” Mullen said, passion rising...

OPINION

Illinois Prison Bans Black History Books

Officials claim the works are ‘racial’ ...

5 Ways Life Would be Better if it Were Always Daylight Saving Time

A Professor from the University of Washington says DST saves lives and energy and prevents crime ...

Importance of Educators of Color for Black and Brown Students

A new report examines the ways that school leaders of color’s experiences and perspectives influence how they build school culture ...

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

2019 Takeaways: Suburb shift, high turnout and ‘Socialism!’

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Odd-year elections in Louisiana, Kentucky and Virginia have let Democrats expand their footprint in Southern states where Republicans dominated not long ago.Those outcomes hardly predict national 2020 results: President Donald Trump isn’t suddenly at risk of...

Bloomberg apologizes for ‘stop and frisk’ police practice

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael Bloomberg on Sunday apologized for his longstanding support of the controversial “stop-and-frisk” police strategy ahead of a potential Democratic presidential run, a practice that he embraced as New York’s mayor and continued to defend despite...

Syracuse suspends fraternity after report of racial slur

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — An African American student at Syracuse University reported being called a racial slur over the weekend, prompting the college to suspend a fraternity Sunday and shut down social activities for all other fraternities for the rest of the semester pending an...

ENTERTAINMENT

Creator of Lizzo’s signature slogan could get a Grammy nod

NEW YORK (AP) — Mina Lioness’ longstanding battle to finally receive writing credit on Lizzo’s megahit song “Truth Hurts” is paying off in more ways than one: it could win her a potential Grammy Award.Lizzo's breakthrough tune features the signature line —...

Ex-ambassador’s testimony shines light on conservative media

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s impeachment testimony on Friday spotlighted the role of conservative media in her downfall and the chilling reminder that she remains a social media target.The ousted ambassador recalled a series of articles by reporter...

And the Grammy nomination goes to...

NEW YORK (AP) — L may typically stand for “loser” but artists like Lizzo, Lady Gaga, Lil Nas X and Lewis Capaldi are likely to score big next week when the Grammy nominations are unveiled, with expected nods in key categories, from album of the year to record and song of the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP Top 25: Georgia edges past Alabama to No. 4; OU up to 8

Georgia edged past Alabama to No. 4 in The Associated Press college football poll after the Bulldogs had a quality...

Terry O’Neill, whose images captured ‘60s London, dies at 81

LONDON (AP) — British photographer Terry O’Neill, whose images captured London’s Swinging...

Democrat Edwards wins reelection in conservative Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Deep in the heart of the conservative South, Louisiana’s voters reelected...

Former Sri Lankan defense chief wins presidential vote

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former defense official revered by Sri Lanka’s...

Pope’s Asian agenda: Disarmament, martyrs, family reunion

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has agendas both pastoral and personal for his trip to Asia, where...

Italy’s white truffle hunters worry about climate change

ALBA, Italy (AP) — Rising global temperatures are worrying truffle hunters around the Italian town of Alba,...

McMenamins
Bill Mears CNN Supreme Court Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Obama administration struggled to keep its legal head above water at the Supreme Court Tuesday as it defended a series of federally controlled and managed floods that caused major timber damage along an Arkansas river.

A majority of the justices appeared inclined to believe that the periodic release of water from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam project begun two decades ago was a government "taking." That legal designation would require the federal government to compensate the state for damages.

The property rights dispute is narrow and unique in many ways, but could clarify the standards for determining the scope, length of time, and impact of government actions affecting many property owners -- private and public.

At issue for the high court is whether the resulting downstream flooding was effectively "permanent" and therefore a "taking," or was merely "temporary" and only a "trespass."

The state of Arkansas owned the flooded land and had earlier won a $5.6 million judgment. Several on the bench appeared inclined to side with the state.

"You knew when you opened up the dam that this is where the water was going to go," Chief Justice John Roberts said to the federal government lawyer.

"Your position seems to be that if it's downstream, somehow it's not the government's water," said Justice Anthony Kennedy. "It's like the old moral refuge that the rocket designers take: I only make the rockets go up; where they come down is not my concern."

The Army completed the Clearwater Dam in 1948, along the Black River in southeastern Missouri, in response to prior natural flooding. About 110 miles downstream, in northeastern Arkansas, is the Dave Donaldson Wildlife Management Area, 23,000 acres of state-owned riparian land used for duck and game hunting, wildlife management, and timber harvesting.

Federal rules for decades had managed normal release of the water, and provided for both "planned" and "unplanned minor deviations." Beginning in 1993 the Corps launched a series of planned, irregular deviations -- quick releases of water during the summer growing season in part to give upstream farmers more time to harvest their crops without their fields becoming inundated.

Under the unique dynamics of stream flow and hydraulics, the result was higher water levels downstream, and long-term flooding of the state property during the critical growing period. The series of deviations lasted until 2000.

The Constitution's Fifth Amendment forbids "private property be taken for public use without just compensation." Even thought the land in question is state property, all sides have treated the land as "private" in nature for purposes of settling the "takings" dispute.

Attorney James Goodhart, arguing for Arkansas, said 100,000 trees were destroyed in 1999 alone, as the controlled, temporary flooding exacerbated a drought at the time. "This management area sat in water during June, July, into August, basically, stagnated water that choked the oxygen from the roots of these trees," he said.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned the premise. "The problem with this case," she said, "is that flooding is going to occur naturally anyway. The (federal) government generally builds dams to control that flooding to the benefit of all of the interests along its affected route. And at some point, either the government is going to going to make a decision that's going to help someone and potentially hurt someone. And the question is, are all of those situations going to be subject to litigation."

Sotomayor was later equally tough in her questioning of the federal government.

Justice Stephen Breyer was more blunt. "The problem with a flood is you don't take all the land. You send some stuff in. And the stuff is there for a while, and then it comes back. It's called water."

But Justice Department lawyer Edwin Kneedler got into trouble when he argued the controlled dam releases created only "incidental consequences downstream from the dam as a result of the flowage" and that the flooding was not an "occupation by the government."

"So if the government comes in and tells a landowner downstream that every March and April we are going to flood your property so that you can't use it from now on -- that's part of our plan -- that's a taking for those two months, correct?" interjected Roberts. When Kneedler said no, the chief justice shot back, "That's not a taking?"

Justice Antonin Scalia added that this is clearly a case of "a 'foreseeable and certain' incidental consequence."

Kneedler replied it is "hard to explain" how a government action affecting land 110 miles downstream is "direct" in nature. He also argued the congressional Flood Control Act of 1928 -- resulting in a hundreds of federally funded dams across the country -- would not have become law if the government believed it would to be liable for all its good-faith efforts.

"Of course, that (congressional action) can't overrule the (Constitution's) Takings Clause, can it?" replied Scalia. "I mean, that's nice that Congress doesn't want to be liable," he joked.

Sotomayor said she had "significant problems" with the administration's articulation.

The high court has dealt with several flooding cases over the years examining whether damages should be paid by the government. In a similar 1924 dispute, the high court concluded a taking required an "actual, permanent invasion of the land, amounting to an appropriation of and not merely injury to the property."

It is that gateway question the justices must first navigate: whether the Corps of Engineers' flood deviations were in fact a taking. The compensation questions would come later.

In one of the Supreme Court's most controversial recent eminent domain cases, the majority in 2006 allowed a Connecticut city to condemn a private, mostly residential neighborhood, in order to lease the land to a private developer for a high-end development project. The city justified the seizure as a "public use," generating jobs and higher tax revenues.

Justice Elena Kagan is sitting out the Arkansas appeal and did not attend the one-hour oral arguments. She had litigated the case in some form during her previous job as the administration's solicitor general. Her absence could result in a 4-4 high court tie, which would be a victory for the U.S. government, but would set no precedent.

The case is Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. U.S. (11-597). A ruling is expected by spring.

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