Latest Oregon news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. PDT
All adult Oregonians eligible for COVID vaccine by May 1
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — All Oregon residents will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning May 1. That’s according to state health officials. Last week, following President Joe Biden’s pledge to make all adults eligible for vaccines by May 1, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she would not change the state’s eligibility schedule until she was sure the state would receive enough vaccines. Since then Oregon officials said they have received an order, from the United States Department of Health and Human Service, that directs vaccination sites to make the change with eligibility. Speaking on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud podcast, Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said that the state will comply with the federal request.
PORTLAND PROTESTS-POLICE SANCTIONS
Police use of less-lethal launchers at protests restricted
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has restricted the Portland police use of less-lethal launchers by its Rapid Response Team officers at protests. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the restriction will be in effect until the city can assure the court that additional training has been offered and that each officer “can recognize and articulate a threat without speculating and before using less-lethal force.” U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez also on Tuesday ordered the Police Bureau to investigate allegations of misconduct by Officer Brent Taylor stemming from his firing of munitions during a June 30 protest. The judge also ordered him removed from policing crowd management/crowd control events pending the outcome of the inquiry.
GENDER PAY LAWSUIT
Court revives UO suit alleging ‘glaring’ gender pay gap
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A federal appeals court has revived a University of Oregon professor’s lawsuit alleging the university has failed to address a “glaring” pay gap between her and male colleagues. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports psychology professor Jennifer Joy Freyd argued that the university paid her several thousand dollars less per year than it paid the male professors though they were all of equal rank and seniority. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals held this week that a reasonable jury could find Freyd and her male colleagues performed a common core of tasks and did substantially equal work yet the men drew significantly higher wages. The decision sends the case back to the trial court.
Collaboration with police divides social workers across US
CHICAGO (AP) — As high-profile police brutality cases have shaken the nation over this past year, many social workers remain divided over one important question: What should their relationship with law enforcement look like? Increased collaboration with police has support among the National Association of Social Workers and other social workers who say their work could reduce racism in policing and improve the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. But many social workers across the county disagree, saying more cooperation between social work and police risks further harming communities of color and ignoring the systemic racism that exists within the field itself.
ETHANOL PLANT FIRE
Cause of Cornelius ethanol blaze determined
CORNELIUS, Ore. (AP) — Officials say a large fire Tuesday at a Cornelius ethanol facility west of Portland was likely caused by static while employees were transferring fuel between metal drums. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports fire crews responded to the blaze about 1:30 p.m. after reports of a fuel tank on fire. The flames erupted at the Summit Foods Inc. complex, which also houses subsidiary Thunderbolt Racing Fuel, where the fire started. Officials say employees were transferring gasoline from one metal drum to another using an air compressor. At some point, one employee began feeling “intense heat” coming from one of the drums and saw flames coming from a port on the side of the container. No one was hurt.
Lakeside town battered by wildfires has a new worry
The mayor of a lakeside Oregon town is worried that a plan to lower the risk of a large earthquake causing the nearby dam to fail will hurt its tourist industry. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has determined that a large earthquake could cause the spillway gates of the Detroit Dam to buckle, resulting in massive flooding, has announced it will try to minimize the danger by reducing the maximum height of the lake by five feet starting in April. The nearby town of Detroit was heavily damaged by a wildfire last year. It depends on visitors coming to enjoy the lake to help revive the economy. The mitigation measure could affect boat ramp access.
Officials: A dam in Oregon could fail in a large earthquake
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that a large earthquake — which is expected to occur again in the Pacific Northwest sooner or later — could cause the spillway gates of a dam in Oregon to buckle, resulting “in a potentially catastrophic flood.” The Corps says it will try to minimize the danger by reducing the maximum height of the lake by five feet. The move comes as Oregon and the wider Pacific Northwest are coming to grips with “the big one” that experts say is coming. Last week, an earthquake early warning system was launched in Oregon.
Washington judge taking time off after comments on Black man
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A judge in southwestern Washington says he will take time off to reflect after he came under pressure for making critical comments about a Black man killed by police. The Columbian reports Clark County District Court Judge Darvin Zimmerman made the announcement Tuesday following condemnations from county district court judges as well as a decision by prosecutors to seek his removal from their criminal cases. A prominent law firm also called for him to resign. Zimmerman last week described Kevin Peterson Jr. as “the Black guy they were trying to make an angel out of,” and said he believed Peterson “was so dumb.” Zimmerman now says he deeply regrets his comments.