06-02-2020  8:05 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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Portland, Oregon, Remains Largely Peaceful, Curfew Lifted

Portland will not impose a curfew on Tuesday night for the first time in four days

Inslee Orders Statewide Guard Activation Following Unrest

Inslee had previously authorized 400 troops for Seattle and 200 troops for Bellevue.

Mayor Ted Wheeler Asks Governor to Call Up National Guard

Portland police chief said, “It has been a long, difficult and emotional several days in Portland and across the country and we understand why.”

Governor Brown Announces $30 Million Investment to Protect Agricultural Workers

The funds are intended to secure Oregon's food supply chain and support agricultural workers during the COVID-19 health crisis


Oregon Health Authority Investigating COVID-19 Increase at Unnamed Business

Oregon reports 71 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases today, no new deaths ...

Some Columbia River Gorge Trails, Parks Reopen Today

Crowded sites including most waterfall viewing areas, campgrounds, and visitor’s centers will stay closed because of the coronavirus...

Over 60 Percent of U.S. Households Have Responded to 2020 Census

Washington is one of the 6 states with the highest self-response rates and both Seattle and Portland are one of the top 8 cities with...

Federal Court Rules Florida Law That Undermined Voting Rights Restoration Is Unconstitutional

The law required people with past convictions to pay all outstanding legal fees, costs, fines, and restitution before regaining their...

Portland, Oregon, remains largely peaceful, curfew lifted

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland, Oregon, will not impose a curfew on Tuesday night for the first time in four days after several thousand demonstrators remained largely peaceful during a march the night before to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.Mayor Ted Wheeler thanked...

The Latest: Thousands on New York City streets after curfew

The Latest on the May 25 death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck:TOP OF THE HOUR:— Thousands of protesters on New York City streets after curfew.— Protest in Washington on Tuesday lacking...

Kansas, Missouri renew Border War with 4-game football set

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas and Missouri are resuming their bitter Border War in football after the former Big 12 rivals agreed to a four-game series in which each school will play two home games beginning in September 2025.The fourth-longest rivalry in college football dates to 1891, but...


Mayor Ted Wheeler: Portland and the Path Forward

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler invites Portlanders, as public servants, to join him "in insisting that we never return to business as usual." ...

Local Business Leaders Share Messages of Hope

President, CEO of SAIF says each of us must move forward in "our understanding of the problem, in holding ourselves accountable for our own attitudes and biases, and in coming together, not apart." ...

Time to Stop Messing Around and Strike at the Root of Police Violence

Thomas Knapp says the root of police violence is the creation of "police forces" as state institutions separate from the populace and dedicated to suppressing that populace on command ...

A Letter to George Floyd: (Posthumous)

As Black mothers, so often we say, our Black boys across this nation belong to all of us. ...


The Latest: Biden sweeps all 7 presidential primaries

The Latest on Tuesday's primary elections (all times EDT):10:45 p.m.Joe Biden has scored a clean sweep of the seven states conducting Democratic presidential primaries on Tuesday, not at all a surprise given that the presumptive Democratic nominee has no active opposition.Yet the delegate haul is...

Protesters return to the streets as Trump decries 'lowlifes'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Undeterred by curfews, protesters streamed back into the nation's streets Tuesday, hours after President Donald Trump pressed governors to put down the violence set off by George Floyd's death and demanded that New York call up the National Guard to stop the...

Clemson assistant Pearman apologizes for using racial slur

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson assistant coach Danny Pearman said he made a “grave mistake” when he repeated a racial slur to ex-Tigers tight end D.J. Greenlee at practice three years ago. The incident came to light Tuesday when former player Kanyon Tuttle posted about it on...


Trump as thug or hero? Depends on what network you watch

NEW YORK (AP) — It was a split screen for the ages on MSNBC Monday: on the left side, President Donald Trump talking about restoring law and order. On the right, a tear-gassed young woman vomiting in a Washington street.For a nation rubbed raw following a traumatic weekend, cable television...

Books on race and criminal justice top bestseller lists

NEW YORK (AP) — As nationwide protests against racism and police violence continue, readers are seeking out books old and new on race and criminal justice. Robin Diangelo's “White Fragility," Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow" and Bryan Stevenson's “Just Mercy” were...

'Just Mercy,' drama of racial injustice, to be free in June

NEW YORK (AP) — The 2019 film “Just Mercy,” which chronicles courtroom struggles against racial injustice and mass incarceration, will be made free on digital platforms throughout June in the wake of George Floyd's death, Warner Bros. said Tuesday. In the film, Michael B....


Tropical Storm Cristobal forms, flood threat for Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tropical Storm Cristobal formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, bringing some...

Washington man has some surprise guests: about 60 protesters

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rahul Dubey had some unexpected guests Monday night — about 60 in all — as...

False claims of antifa protesters plague small U.S. cities

CHICAGO (AP) — In the days since President Donald Trump blamed antifa activists for an eruption of violence...

Hong Kong leader criticizes 'double standards' over protests

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong's leader on Tuesday criticized the “double standards” of foreign...

Putin signs Russia's nuclear deterrent policy

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday endorsed Russia's nuclear deterrent policy which allows...

Experts watch as Rio de Janeiro economy starts to reopen

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro, one of the cities worst hit by COVID-19 in Brazil, slowly started to...

Rachel La Corte Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- About two dozen seriously ill prisoners in Washington state could soon be released from prison -- as long as their freedom is expected to save the cash-strapped state money.
A new state law, which takes effect Saturday, expands a current program to release chronically or terminally ill prisoners. Death row inmates, or those serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, are not eligible for early release.
Washington is among more than 30 states that have some form of early release program for seriously ill prisoners, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The move will save the Washington state Department of Corrections an estimated $800,000 over the next two years, mainly on things like prescription costs and transporting prisoners to off-prison medical treatment.
But the state Department of Social and Health Services estimates it could see significant increases in its budget if it has to place all of those released in state-paid nursing homes or provide additional mental health services -- offsetting any savings and possibly adding more costs to the already hampered state budget.
That frustrates some lawmakers like Rep. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup. He voted in favor of the bill twice while it was moving through legislative committees, but ultimately voted against it on the House floor because of concerns over costs. The state had to make major cuts this year to patch a $9 billion budget deficit.
"I was prepared to speak out in support of this bill in our caucus room, and then as I reviewed the fiscal note again, it had changed," Dammeier said. "It's not clear-cut, it's not easy to define, and it's not going to clearly result in savings."
The number of prisoners who would actually be released is unknown. Also unclear is how many of those released would end up relying on social safety net programs.
Even the state corrections chief admits the program expansion is a work in progress.
"We continue to think this will save the state money, but we won't know that for sure until we're down the road," said Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail. "Will it in every case? That's the goal. You can't know until they leave the system."
Under the law signed by Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire in May, the head of corrections can authorize early medical release only if certain conditions are met. The offender must have a serious medical condition that is expected "to require costly care or treatment." They must pose a low risk to the community because they are physically incapacitated or expected to be at the time of release. And the release must be expected to save the state money.
The department works to see if prisoners qualify for private or veteran's health coverage. Barring other options, they arrange for Medicaid, which is paid for partially by the state and partly with federal money.
Vail said some of the prisoners have such serious health problems that they are already in state nursing homes, with an armed guard paid to be with them. So under the program, not much changes except the lack of a guard, he said.
"The state is still paying for the hospital bed, but the state is no longer paying for the correctional officer to stand watch," Vail said.
The main change to the current early release program, which has been in place since 1999, is that it no longer requires the prisoner be incapacitated before being approved for release. Fifty-five offenders have been released since 1999 under the earlier program, and two more have been approved and are currently awaiting placement in the community.
Sherry Lynn Bradford, a 40-year-old prisoner at the Washington Corrections Center for Women near Gig Harbor, hopes that she will be one of the prisoners released under the new expanded law. Bradford, who has hepatitis C and has had two surgeries to address liver failure, was denied parole last year under the old program because she wasn't yet incapacitated.
She said that during her last surgery earlier this month, "my doctor didn't sugarcoat it."
"He said my liver is very sick and the only way I'm going to live is to get a new one," she said.
Bradford has been in and out of prison since 1997 on drug charges, with her most recent conviction in 2006 for possession of a controlled substance, with intent to manufacture or deliver cocaine. She is set to be released on probation in December. She said she hopes she can be out before then under medical parole in hopes that she can get on a transplant list sooner.
"I really can't do anything from behind bars," she said.
Her application hasn't yet been decided, and Vail said every request will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
"It's a balancing act between trying to make sure a person receives proper care in a way that is cost effective," he said. "It's not a black-and-white decision. It all depends on the individual."
The early medical parole bill is House Bill 2194.

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