05-08-2021  12:31 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

Sherpa guide scales Mount Everest for record 25th time

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A Sherpa guide scaled Mount Everest for the 25th time on Friday, breaking his own record...

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...

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...

Gene Johnson Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE (AP) -- In one corner of Washington state, a 62-year-old rheumatoid arthritis patient could face more than eight years in prison for growing marijuana for himself and three others. In Seattle, meanwhile, a collection of grow operations serves 2,000 people with little interference from police.
The discrepancy is typical of the confusion that has reigned since voters passed Washington's medical marijuana law more than a decade ago. Nor have things improved much since the state clarified how much pot patients can have last year.
Unlike some states, Washington requires patients to grow marijuana themselves or designate a caregiver to grow it for them. For many, that's unrealistic: They're too sick to grow cannabis themselves and don't have the thousands of dollars it can cost for a caregiver to set up a proper growing operation.
So they've devised their own schemes, claiming to meet the letter of the law in establishing collective grows or storefront dispensaries -- methods that are making police and prosecutors increasingly uncomfortable.
"The spirit of the law would recognize the necessity of having small cooperative ventures," said Dan Satterberg, the prosecutor in King County, where Seattle is. "But if they get past a certain size, become a magnet for neighborhood violence, or you get other people showing up to buy marijuana who are not permitted to under the law, then there's tension."
Three years ago, Satterberg's office declined to prosecute a man who was growing 130 plants for 40 people. But a case this year may be testing his tolerance: He hasn't decided whether to charge a hepatitis patient caught with 200 plants, which he claimed supplied more than 100 other patients.
Some activists and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington recently began discussions with Seattle police over whether to limit the size of cooperative grows.
In Spokane this month, police shut down a medical marijuana dispensary -- the first such bust in the state -- and arrested the two owners. They warned a half-dozen other dispensaries to close as well, and the raid quickly drew protests from patients. The raid has set up a high-profile court fight.
Approved by voters in 1998, it allows doctors to recommend cannabis as a treatment for a series of debilitating or terminal conditions -- a smaller range of illnesses than California's law. A year ago, the state issued guidelines to give police and patients alike an idea of how much pot was OK: Up to 15 plants and 24 ounces of dried marijuana per patient. People can have more if they demonstrate need.
Police in some jurisdictions have applied the guidelines strictly, arresting people simply for having more than 15 plants, even if they possessed no usable marijuana. In Seattle, Satterberg issued a memo to law enforcement saying he wasn't interested in dragging sick people to court. Some other counties have also adopted a lenient view.
Washington's law says that a caregiver can only provide marijuana to one patient at any one time. In Spokane this year, medical marijuana activists focused on that language in setting up a for-profit dispensary called Change.
Lawyer Frank Cikutovich said the business met legal requirements: A lone patient would enter the store, sign a document designating the shop as his or her caregiver, and buy marijuana. The agreement expired when the patient left and the next customer came in.
The business, raided on Sept. 10, rendered the "one patient, one caregiver" rule meaningless, Spokane police spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe said. She said there was peripheral crime associated with the dispensary, including robberies at grow sites and street sales from people who had purchased pot there.
"They're dispensing to hundreds and thousands of people," DeRuwe said. "The police department's stand is, we want to get some guidance on this. We know it's going to be up to the court system to provide us with that."
In Western Washington, patients have instead opted for cooperatives, Seattle medical marijuana attorney Douglas Hiatt said. Those are closed membership groups. Patients pay dues or otherwise contribute on a sliding financial scale for their medicine, and some people work full time and even draw salaries under the table.
"For some people, it would be difficult to see marijuana being sold out of storefronts in their neighborhoods," Hiatt said. "But most Washington patients really haven't gone that way. They've wanted to be on the down-low, and the majority of folks are not for the California-style delivery system."
Members of one Seattle collective say it serves 2,000 patients and is primarily supplied by about a dozen grow sites, which range from a handful of mature plants to about 70 -- a few hundred plants in all, compared to the 30,000 that the patients would be allowed under the 15-plant guideline.
One of the grows is in the basement of a Seattle home surrounded by blackberries and condominiums. Dozens of starter plants fill one cramped room, while in the next a bumper crop of 15 plants is just days from yielding around 16 pounds of pot.
Setting up the grow operation with custom-built transformers, ventilation and lighting systems cost more than $50,000 -- even though union electricians donated their time. The marijuana is brought to a clinic in an industrial South Seattle neighborhood for trimming and distribution, said the HIV patient who tends the plants.

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