05-26-2020  5:11 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Supreme Court Gives Judge Deadline on Virus Ruling

Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff ruled Gov. Brown's stay-at-home orders are invalid but Supreme Court want explanation

Three-Car Derailment in North Portland Signals Ongoing Safety Concerns

A train derailment in North Portland Tuesday morning resulted in no injuries, but damaged a Lombard Street overpass. It also served as a reminder of the safety hazards of living alongside railways.

During Pandemic, Educators and Community Partners Hope to Bridge the Gap for Students of Color

Internet connectivity, social isolation undermine student success

Secretary of State Race Close; Backhoe Issue Grabs Attention

The race for the Democratic nomination to be Oregon secretary of state — the second-highest statewide office — remains too early to call between front-runners Sens. Shemia Fagan and Mark Hass

NEWS BRIEFS

OSF Appoints David Schmitz as Fourth Executive Director

Schmitz will join Artistic Director Nataki Garrett to co-lead nation’s flagship repertory theatre ...

Rose Festival Inspired To Evolve Tradition With Virtual Presentations

The Rose Festival is looking different this year, but promises lots of fun events for families. ...

Oregon Food Bank and the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam Accepts FamilyCare Health’s Community Challenge

FamilyCare Health recently donated 2 million dollars to 14 Portland-based community organizations ...

New Poll Reveals COVID-19's Impacts on African American Communities

80% of those polled preferred to hold off on ending the shutdown to assure their safety ahead of boosting the economy ...

Nicholas Johnson Becomes Princeton’s First Black Valedictorian

Johnson is pursuing an Engineering degree, with Minors in Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics...

Spike in coronavirus cases in Oregon traced to gatherings

REDMOND, Ore. (AP) — A spike in reported coronavirus cases in Redmond last week has been tied to family and social gatherings in the area.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports last week’s breakdown of coronavirus cases by ZIP code in Oregon reported eight new cases of COVID-19 in the...

Judge dismisses lawsuit against pellet grill company

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A district court judge has dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit against barbecue grill manufacturer Traeger Pellet Grills, deciding the defendants failed to establish the court has jurisdiction.U.S. District Court Judge Bruce Jenkins of Utah dismissed without...

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...

OPINION

Ballot Measure 26-210 is Needed Now

Though this measure was referred to the ballot by Metro, it was written by the HereTogether coalition ...

The Skanner News May Primary 2020 Endorsements

Read The Skanner News' midterm election endorsements for Oregon, Multnomah County, Portland, and ballot measures ...

A New Earth Day

Happy Earth Day. If we actually mean it, we will elect representatives who will force the military to clean up their pollution ...

Covid-19 Financial Warning: Consumers and Banks Should Stay Away From Payday Loans

When living costs exceed available financial resources, tough times lead to tough decisions ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Atlanta is home to 2 potential contenders for Biden's VP

ATLANTA (AP) — Neither public rivals nor personal friends, Keisha Lance Bottoms and Stacey Abrams spent years climbing parallel ladders at Atlanta City Hall and the Georgia Capitol. They are now Georgia’s most influential African American women. Bottoms, the 50-year-old Atlanta mayor,...

2020 Watch: Differing views on remaking post-virus economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidential politics move fast. What we’re watching heading into a new week on the 2020 campaign:Days to general election: 162 ___THE NARRATIVEAs some parts of the nation continue to ease stay-at-home orders meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the economy...

The Latest: Fired NASCAR star wins World of Outlaws race

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Fired NASCAR star Kyle Larson won the World of Outlaws race Saturday night in Pevley, Missouri, a day after finishing second behind brother-in-law Brad Sweet in the first Sprint Cup event with live fans in the dirt...

ENTERTAINMENT

William Small, 'hero to journalism' at CBS, NBC, dies at 93

NEW YORK (AP) — Longtime broadcast news executive William J. Small, who led CBS News' Washington coverage during the civil rights movement, Vietnam War and Watergate and was later president of NBC News and United Press International, died Sunday, CBS News said. He was 93.Small, whose career...

Big art, small package: Tiny plays offered to stage at home

NEW YORK (AP) — The task facing playwright Tito Livas was intense: Write a new play in a few days that could be read alone or aloud with friends. Don't worry if it's too crazy. Oh, and make it 10 minutes or less.Livas is part of a national initiative called “ Play at Home,” a...

In prison, producer finds new voice for inmates, and himself

NEW YORK (AP) — David Jassy was a successful music producer who had worked with Britney Spears and others when he was sent to prison for killing a man during an altercation. While serving his time, he would hear talented young inmates rapping in the yards at San Quentin State Prison with...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

5 things to know today - that aren't about the virus

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:1. HONG...

California lays out pandemic rules for church reopenings

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rabbi Shalom Rubanowitz looks forward to reopening his synagogue doors — if his...

Stanley Ho, who built Macao's gambling industry, dies at 98

HONG KONG (AP) — Casino tycoon Stanley Ho, whose business empire dominated the Portuguese gambling enclave...

Virus stalls work to keep alive a rare rhino subspecies

NANYUKI, Kenya (AP) — It’s not quite a case of coitus interruptus, but efforts to create a very...

Asia Today: Philippines trying to ease quarantine congestion

BANGKOK (AP) — As about 24,000 Filipinos who lost their jobs abroad are being transported by land, sea or...

AP PHOTOS: Confined Moroccans find new ways to celebrate Eid

CASABLANCA Morocco (AP) — Instead of mass prayers and large family gatherings filled with colorful clothes,...

McMenamins
Matt Volz the Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Two Montana lawmakers are trying to start a class-action lawsuit against "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson, claiming they were duped into buying Mortenson's best-selling book and donating to his charity based on lies they thought were true.

The claim filed Thursday in federal court in Missoula is the latest fallout from reports by "60 Minutes" and author Jon Krakauer last month that alleged that Mortenson lied in "Three Cups of Tea" about how he became involved in building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The reports also questioned whether Mortenson financially benefited from his charity, Central Asia Institute, and whether CAI built the number of schools it claimed.

The complaint, which tells only one side of a legal argument, alleges Mortenson and CAI induced state Rep. Michele Reinhart of Missoula to buy the book and Rep. Jean Price of Great Falls to donate to the charity. Reinhart and Price claim Mortenson and the charity engaged in fraud, deceit, breach of contract and racketeering under a statute normally used for prosecuting mobsters.

The Democratic legislators are seeking class-action status, saying the lawsuit potentially could be joined by millions of people who bought Mortenson's books, heard his speeches or donated to his charity.

"They purchased the book because of his heart-wrenching story which he said was true," said Great Falls attorney Alexander Blewett, who is representing Reinhart and Price. "If people had known all of this was fabricated, they would not have given the money."

Mortenson was in his Bozeman home awaiting word on whether he could safely undergo surgery to repair a hole in his heart, according to a statement by his doctor posted on the Central Asia Institute's website.

Anne Beyersdorfer, a Mortenson family friend who is running the charity in Mortenson's absence, told The Associated Press that officials at CAI have not seen the complaint and she could not comment on the particulars. But, she said, Mortenson has done nothing wrong and he is looking forward to refuting the accusations against him when his health improves.

"He's weak, his oxygen levels are low and he's not well," Beyersdorfer said. "He is not able to speak because of his health issues, but he (will be) ready to tell his version of the story, which is very important."

Mortenson has previously denied any wrongdoing, though he has admitted some of the events in his book were compressed over different periods of time. CAI has pledged full transparency and posted years of financial statements on its website.

Reinhart heard Mortenson speak at the University of Montana in 2007 and bought "Three Cups of Tea" in 2009. Price heard a presentation by Mortenson or CAI in Great Falls in 2009 and made a donation "relying on the truthfulness of his statements," according to the complaint.

Neither immediately returned calls for comment. Their attorney, Blewett, is the father of another Democratic state lawmaker, Sen. Anders Blewett.

The plaintiffs are asking a judge to rule that Mortenson and CAI violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO. They made the RICO claim because Price gave CAI a second donation after receiving a solicitation in the mail, which Alexander Blewett said constitutes mail fraud.

The racketeering claim allows the plaintiffs to seek triple the amount Mortenson and CAI have made from book sales, speeches and donations.

The complaint asks the judge to place the money into a trust administered by a court-appointed charity that would direct it to schoolchildren in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Three Cups of Tea" was released in 2006 and sold more than 3 million copies. That notoriety helped Mortenson grow the Central Asia Institute by generating more than $50 million in donations.

The fallout from the "60 Minutes" and Krakauer reports prompted Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock to open an inquiry into the charity last month.

Blewett said a class-action lawsuit represents the best way for the public to find out the truth because it could result in Mortenson's sworn testimony.

"We welcome the opportunity to let Mr. Mortenson testify under oath to all these things. To us, it seems overwhelmingly false and we will give him ample opportunity to explain away all of the falsehoods," Blewett said.

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