08-11-2022  8:54 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Lottery Misses Mark on Minorities’ Fair Share

The Oregon Lottery’s most recent advertising slogan is “Together, we do good things”. But when we look at where the profits are coming from and where any potential benefit from lottery profits flow to, is this really true? 

Court Sides With Governor Kate Brown Over Early Prison Releases

Two attorneys took particular issue with Brown’s decision to allow 73 people convicted of murder, assault, rape and manslaughter while they were younger than 18 to apply for early release.

Ballot Measure to Overhaul City Government Promises Minority Representation While Facing Controversy

The Portland Charter Commission aims to bring city in line with how other major U.S. cities do local governance. 

White Woman Calls Police on Black Man Standing at His Home

“If you guys have a lease, I’d just like to see the lease,”

NEWS BRIEFS

Jefferson Alumni Invites Community to Block Party

This inaugural event is open to the public and will have tons of entertainment in tow, including a live DJ and music, a rib contest,...

Oregon Approved to Issue an Additional $46 Million in Pandemic EBT Food Assistance to 80,000 Young Children

The additional food benefits will be issued to families’ existing EBT cards in Fall 2022, with the exact dates yet to be...

Free Vaccination Events Provide Required Back-to-School Immunizations

On or before the first day of instruction, all K-12 students in Washington state must be up to date on vaccinations required for...

Merkley, Colleagues Continue Push for Robust Federal Response to Monkeypox Public Health Emergency

“As the country continues to navigate the [monkeypox public health emergency], the United States public health system remains on the...

Washington Ferries to Get $38 Million to Improve Services

Out of the 35 states and three territories receiving federal money for ferries, Washington will get the biggest allocation ...

Cops: Oregon crime ring moved M in catalytic converters

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police in suburban Portland, Oregon, said Thursday they arrested a crime ring leader responsible for trafficking more than 44,000 catalytic converters stolen from vehicles on the West Coast since 2021. Detectives said they identified Brennan Doyle, 32, as the...

Seattle hospital to refuse some patients due to capacity

SEATTLE (AP) — Harborview Medical Center in Seattle will temporarily stop accepting less acute patients and will divert them to other health care systems as capacity challenges worsen, according to the hospital’s CEO. “All hospital systems (are) very much over capacity with very...

OPINION

No One Ever Told You About Black August?

Black America lives in a series of deserts. Many of us live in food deserts, financial deserts, employment deserts, and most of us live in information deserts. ...

Betsy Johnson Fails to Condemn Confederate Flags at Her Rally

The majority of Oregonians, including our rural communities, value inclusion and unity, not racism and bigotry. ...

Monkeypox, Covid, and Your Vote

We must start a voter registration drive right here where we live. This effort must become as important to us as putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. ...

Speaking of Reparations

To many Americans, “reparations” is a dirty word when applied to Black folks. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Cuomo: Taxpayers should pay sexual harassment legal bills

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants taxpayers to foot his legal bills as he defends himself against a workplace sexual harassment claim — and he's suing the state's attorney general over it. Cuomo filed the suit against Attorney General Letitia James on...

Judge sends Wisconsin man to institution in hate crime crash

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin judge committed a man accused of targeting a motorcyclist in a fatal crash because of the victim's race to life in a mental institution Thursday. Daniel Navarro, a 27-year-old Mexican American from Fond du Lac, was convicted Wednesday of...

ReAwaken Tour host says he feels harassed by NY prosecutor

BATAVIA, N.Y. (AP) — A Christian pastor in western New York said he felt intimidated and harassed after the state's attorney general, a Democrat, sent a letter saying she believed a planned far-right political event at his church this week could lead to racial violence. In the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Mary Gauthier uses songwriting to help people through trauma

NEW YORK (AP) — Having used songwriting to navigate her own trauma, Mary Gauthier is putting those skills to work helping others do the same. The Nashville-based musician has collaborated with war veterans to write about what they've been through, even producing a disc of the music,...

Novel inspired by Shirley Jackson classic expected in 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — The family of the late Shirley Jackson has authorized a novel inspired by her classic “The Haunting of Hill House.” Elizabeth Hand's "A Haunting on the Hill” is scheduled to come out in fall 2023. It’s the first time Jackson’s estate has approved an...

Metallica, Mariah Carey headline Global Citizen NYC concert

NEW YORK (AP) — Metallica, Mariah Carey and The Jonas Brothers will headline a free concert in New York’s Central Park next month marking the 10th anniversary of the Global Citizen Festival organized by the international nonprofit fighting extreme poverty. The Sept. 24 event will...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Trump's bond with GOP deepens after primary wins, FBI search

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump's pick for governor in the swing state of Wisconsin easily defeated a favorite of...

Cause sought for Indiana house explosion that killed 3

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Authorities worked Thursday to determine the cause of a house explosion in a southern...

'Disturbing': Experts troubled by Canada’s euthanasia laws

TORONTO (AP) — Alan Nichols had a history of depression and other medical issues, but none were...

At 75, India seeks way forward in big but job-scarce economy

NEW DELHI (AP) — As India’s economy grew, the hum of factories turned the sleepy, dusty village of Manesar...

UN demands end to military activity at Ukraine nuke plant

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. nuclear chief warned Thursday that “very alarming” military activity at...

Greece asks Turkey to help migrants reported stuck on islet

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Greece on Thursday asked neighboring Turkey to help about 40 migrants, some urgently...

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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