05-24-2022  5:06 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Salinas, Erickson, Win Primaries in New Oregon 6th District

Salinas, who has maintained her lead as more ballots have been counted from Tuesday's primary, would be Oregon’s first Hispanic congresswoman

As Registration Opens Portland Parks Needs Staff for Summer Programs

Indoor and outdoor pools will open with jobs and free training available for swimmers

State Representative Janelle Bynum Calls for Legislative Inquiry into Clackamas County Election Debacle

Bynum says Elections Clerk Sherry Hall must answer questions and deliver a clear plan along with assurances the count will be fair

Here's How Abortion Clinics Are Preparing for Roe to Fall

In March, Oregon lawmakers approved million to pay for abortions and support services such as travel and lodging for in-state or out-of-state patients who travel long distances, and to expand abortion availability.

NEWS BRIEFS

Building Cultural Bridges

PassinArt: A Theatre Company, celebrated its 40th anniversary with a gala Saturday night, May 14, at Colwood Golf Center. ...

'Twitter Philanthropy' Reveals Chasms in Social Safety Net

The California-based chip maker said Thursday the new “mega lab” will investigate ways to make data centers operate more...

Local Podcast Wins Awards at Home and Abroad

Let’s Talk About Race is a production of Grassroot News NW and KBOO Community Radio. ...

Multnomah County Planning Commission Seeks New Member

Multnomah County’s Land Use Planning Division is looking for a Multnomah County resident to serve as a volunteer member on the...

2 Pleasure Boats Catch Fire on Columbia River

Two pleasure boats caught fire on the Columbia River between Vancouver and Caterpillar Island Sunday afternoon. One boat sank,...

Timeline of Oregon county's ballot tally remains uncertain

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Three weeks after Oregon’s third-largest county learned that a majority of their ballots had blurry barcodes and were unreadable by vote-counting machines, state officials have yet to receive a written plan detailing how the county will complete the tally by June 13, the...

Buddhist chaplains on the rise in US, offering broad appeal

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Wedged into a recliner in the corner of her assisted living apartment in Portland, Skylar Freimann, who has a terminal heart condition and pulmonary illness, anxiously eyed her newly arrived hospital bed on a recent day and worried over how she would maintain independence as...

OPINION

Costly Auto Repairs Driving Consumers Into a Financial Ditch

Research documents new, growing form of predatory lending ...

Can Federal Lynching Law Help Heal America?

Despite decades of senseless delays, this new law pushes America to finally acknowledge that racism often correlates to a level of violence and terror woven into the very fabric of this country. ...

The Skanner News Endorsements: May Primary 2022

Primary election day is May 17, 2022. Read The Skanner's endorsements for this important election. ...

Men’s Voices Urgently Needed to Defend Reproductive Rights

For decades, men in increasing numbers have followed women’s lead in challenging gender-based violence and promoting gender equality, so why are we stuck when it comes to abortion? ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Texas school shooting kills 18 children, 3 adults

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, killing at least 18 children, officials said, and the gunman was dead. The death toll also included three adults, according to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who said he was briefed by state...

New names for Fort Bragg, 8 other Army bases recommended

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fort Bragg would become Fort Liberty. Fort Gordon would be Fort Eisenhower. And, for the first time, Army bases would be named after Black soldiers and women. An independent commission on Tuesday recommended new names for nine Army posts that now commemorate Confederate...

Feds investigating treatment of mentally ill in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into how Kentucky cares for mentally ill adults in the Louisville area. The probe will look into potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Investigators are looking at whether the state...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Top Gun' and Tom Cruise return to the danger zone

NEW YORK (AP) — In 1983, producer Jerry Bruckheimer was flipping through the May issue of California magazine when he was struck by a story. “Top Guns” read the headline, with a large photograph from inside the cockpit of an F-14 fighter jet. The story opened: “At Mach 2 and 40,000 feet...

Léa Seydoux, once again, rules the Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, France (AP) — The Cannes Film Festival, yet again, belongs to Léa Seydoux. The French actress has already shared in a Palme d’Or at the festival, in 2013 for “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” which made her and Adèle Exarchopoulos the first actors to ever win Cannes' top...

Burn-proof edition of 'The Handmaid's Tale' up for auction

NEW YORK (AP) — Margaret Atwood has imagined apocalyptic disaster, Dystopian government and an author faking her own death. But until recently she had spared herself the nightmare of trying to burn one of her own books. With a flamethrower, no less. She failed, and...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Ricky Gervais' Netflix special blasted as 'anti-trans rants'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Following in Dave Chappelle's footsteps, Ricky Gervais ridicules transgender women in his new...

After 3 months, Russia still bogged down in Ukraine war

When Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, it had hoped to overtake the country in a blitz lasting only days or a few...

Greene's divisive politics face test in Republican primary

With millions raised to defend her seat in Congress and five fellow Republicans running to take it, GOP Rep....

5 Turkish soldiers killed in clashes against PKK in Iraq

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Five Turkish soldiers were killed Tuesday in clashes with Kurdish militants in northern...

Moldovan ex-president detained in treason, corruption probe

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — A former Moldovan president was ordered detained following a series of police raids...

Victims groups slam UK plan for amnesty over Troubles crimes

LONDON (AP) — Relatives of people killed during Northern Ireland’s decades of violence protested in London and...

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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