09-18-2021  7:37 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Illegal Marijuana Farms Take West's Scarce Water

Deer Creek has run dry after several illegal marijuana grows cropped up in the neighborhood last spring, stealing water from both the stream and nearby aquifers

Biden Slammed for Challenging Nuclear Workplace Health Law

The Biden Administration is picking up where the Trump administration left off, challenging a 2018 Washington state law that made it easier for sick Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers to qualify for compensation benefits.

After Humble Beginnings, Oregon's Dutch Bros Launches IPO

After humble beginnings as a pushcart operation in an Oregon town, Dutch Bros Coffee launched an initial public offering Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Portland Scraps Texas Boycott, Allocates Abortion Funds

 The City Council in Portland, Oregon, has scrapped a plan to boycott Texas businesses because of a new law that prohibits most abortions there, deciding Wednesday to instead set aside 0,000 to fund reproductive care.

NEWS BRIEFS

Rep. Beatty Introduces Legislation to Establish National Rosa Parks Day

In coordination with Reps. Jim Cooper and Terri Sewell, U.S. Congresswoman and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty...

Rabid Bat Found in Northeast Portland; First in 7 Years

Make sure pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccine, and never handle bats or other wildlife without protection ...

National Black Law Enforcement Leader Announces Campaign for Multnomah County Sheriff

With a thirty-four year career in corrections Captain Derrick Peterson announces his campaign for Multnomah County Sheriff ...

University Of Portland Ranked 3rd in Western Region on 2022 U.S. News & World Report

In-person fall semester classes proceeding with vaccination rates above 96% among faculty, staff, and students; and adherence to...

Black Parent Initiative With Joy Degruy Publications Awarded $500,000 From MacArthur Foundation Supporting an Equitable Recovery

The grant will support Black Parent Initiative and Joy DeGruy Publications work to advance Racial Justice Field Support, with a Focus...

Autonomous robots prepped for cave search and rescue mission

PITTSBURGH (AP) — After practicing in a former limestone mine and an abandoned hospital outside of Pittsburgh, a fleet of robots from Carnegie Mellon University is headed to Kentucky for the final test of the ability to autonomously navigate an uncertain, underground course. ...

Oregon expands wolf kill due to threat to livestock

BAKER CITY, Ore. (AP) — Authorities in Oregon are stepping up efforts to kill wolves from a pack in the eastern part of the state due to continued attacks by the animals and evidence they are now focusing on livestock. KTVZ reports the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife...

CMU's McElwain relishes return to LSU's Death Valley

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain and the Chippewas have demonstrated already this season that they can go into an SEC stadium and be competitive. Yet McElwain is reluctant to characterize a visit to LSU’s 102,000-seat Death Valley, where the...

Kentucky looks to maintain momentum against FCS Chattanooga

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Mark Stoops quickly dismisses any notion of FCS Chattanooga being a “breather” game for Kentucky. Not with the Wildcats (2-0) facing another Southeastern Conference challenge looming next week at South Carolina. And certainly not with Kentucky hungry...

OPINION

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

Letter to the Editor: Reform the Recall

Any completely unqualified attention seeker with ,000 for the candidate‘s filing fee can be the largest state in the Union’s next governor ...

Grassroots Organizers Should Be Celebrated in Georgia’s 95% Voter Registration Rate

The recent release of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s biennial report brought welcome news that 95% of Georgia’s voting-eligible population is currently registered to vote. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Pakistani PM to prod Taliban on inclusive govt

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s prime minister says he has “initiated a dialogue" with the Taliban to prod them to form an inclusive government that would ensure peace and stability not only in Afghanistan but also in the region. Imran Khan tweeted on Saturday that he took the...

Police: Prison guard beat banker, used racial slur over mask

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — A California prison guard was arrested this week on suspicion of beating a Wells Fargo branch manager and calling him a racial slur after being asked to wear a mask inside the bank, police said. James Allen Jones, Jr., 50, was arrested at his job...

Prison reform advocate calls solitary confinement revenge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A longtime prison reform advocate asked a federal judge on Thursday to move him out of solitary confinement, claiming the punitive treatment violates his Constitutional rights. Alex Friedman was arrested last year and accused of hiding loaded guns and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Actor L. Steven Taylor is the king behind 'The Lion King'

NEW YORK (AP) — L. Steven Taylor got the call that would change his life in 2005: Would he like to make his Broadway debut in “The Lion King”? It was just a six-month contract but he took it, uprooting his family and moving to New York. “Six months has turned into 16...

Sotheby's puts rare U.S. Constitution copy for auction

NEW YORK (AP) — A very special document will be auctioned off later this year — a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution. Sotheby's announced Friday — appropriately on Constitution Day — that in November it will put up for auction one of just 11...

'The Crown,' 'Ted Lasso,' streaming seek Emmy Awards glory

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The miniature statutes given at the Emmy Awards on Sunday can be an outsized boon to egos, careers and guessing games. Will “The Mandalorian” bow to “The Crown” as best drama series? Can the feel-good comedy “Ted Lasso” charm its way into...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

France's Notre Dame cathedral secured at last. Next: rebuild

PARIS (AP) — France’s Notre Dame Cathedral is finally stable and secure enough for artisans to start...

Aluminum wrap used to protect homes in California wildfires

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Martin Diky said he panicked as a huge wildfire started racing down a slope toward his wooden...

Brian Laundrie's family tells police, FBI he is missing

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — Police in Florida said they are working with the FBI to find 23-year-old Brian Laundrie,...

Rising numbers of migrants risk lives crossing Darien Gap

ACANDI, Colombia (AP) — It was 5 a.m. and in dozens of small tents around 500 migrants began showing signs of...

UN concerned about detained migrants vanishing in Libya

ON BOARD THE GEO BARENTS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA (AP) — A U.N. migration agency official expressed concerns...

Assertive Mexico seeks leadership role in Latin America

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A gathering of leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean this weekend in Mexico is the...

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.

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events