Writings and observations


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Little change in NW fish plan (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Nezperce schools asked to change Indian mascots (Lewiston Tribune)
Idaho school budgets rank low (Moscow News)
Oil and can development on Canyon land (Nampa Press Tribune)
Monsanto growing wheat at Filer (TF Times News)
Boise hospitals ordered to respond to data requests (TF Times News)

OSU pay info battle goes on (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Some skiing ongoing in Oregon (Eugene Register Guard)
Store concerns about new liquor law (Hermiston Herald)
No major Hermiston airport upgrades (Hermiston Herald)
Still no Upper Klamath water agreement (KF Herald & News)
Ashland considers business license change for pot (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
State tests mercury in Rogue River (Medford Tribune)
Milton Freewater wants well review (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Gun background check moves in Senate (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman-Journal)
Tri-Met still rewarding executives (Portland Oregonian)
Ron Tonkin, car dealer, dies (Portland Oregonian)
Schedule set for PERS challenge (Salem Statesman Journal)
Marijuana hearing features critics (Salem Statesman-Journal)

Bikini barista in court (Everett Herald)
Areva wins Hanford contract (Kennewick Herald)
3 Rivers snags outdoor store (Longview News)
Child porn victims want damages (Seattle Times)
Two legislative seats filled (Tacoma News Tribune)
GMO battles resume at statehous (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima prosecutor won’t run again (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakima city fills council seat (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakamas may get fill legal control on land (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

mendiola MARK


Bank of Idaho President and CEO Park Price strongly encourages eastern Idaho’s three economic development organizations – Bannock Development Corp., Bingham Economic Development Corp. and Grow Idaho Falls Inc. – to effectively flex their collective clout by merging into a single regional force.

Speaking at a recent Rotary Club of Pocatello luncheon, Price noted the three organizations have been discussing the possibility of consolidating into a single entity, which he said would pay dividends for years to come throughout the region.

The Idaho Falls bank executive – who holds an economics degree from Dartmouth, ran a successful Pocatello car dealership for many years and has been engaged in economic development for more than 30 years – noted the Pocatello/Idaho Falls region boasts a population of 250,000 and a work force of nearly 130,000, the second largest in Idaho behind Boise.

Price praised successful economic development efforts in the Magic Valley where communities and counties in the Twin Falls area cooperate as a cohesive unit. The Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization (SIEDO) has wracked up several impressive achievements, including $800 million in industrial projects built or announced since November 2012, creating more than 1,200 jobs.

Those projects include Chobani’s massive $100 million yogurt plant near Twin Falls, Glanbia’s $15 million cheese innovation center, Frulact Group’s $40 million fruit processing plant in Rupert adding 100 jobs, a new $160 million Clif Bar plant employing 250, McCain Foods’ expansion adding 150 jobs in Burley, Monsanto’s Wheat Technology Innovation Center in Filer with 30 jobs, Gossner Cheese’s $20 million investment in a Mini-Cassia plant, etc., etc.

“Major private investors in Bannock Development and Grow Idaho Falls with whom I’ve spoken are in favor of a regional approach,” Price said, noting the Salt Lake Valley and areas around Bozeman, Billings and Missoula, Mont., pose the greatest competition to eastern Idaho for jobs that pay living wages. “The competition is no longer other communities in Idaho.”

Price warned the trend of companies incorporating technology in all their processes and emphasizing automation to remain competitive does not bode well for low- or semi-skilled workers, whom he said are part of the long term unemployed.

He mentioned that in September he toured the J.R. Simplot Co.’s new 380,000 square foot plant in Caldwell, which has brought about the closure of Simplot plants in Aberdeen, Caldwell and Nampa.

“The three older plants employed about 1200. The new plant will employ just 265. The plant is a fine example of technological efficiency,” Price said, adding there are not fork lift operators, sorters or other laborers employed there, only employees who operate computers or maintain equipment.

Park Price
Bank of Idaho President and CEO Park Price gestures as he makes a point with Pocatello Rotarians Dick Sagness and Bill Stratton. (photo/Mark Mendiola)


“The downside to all this automation … is that robots and computers don’t buy anything. When 70 percent of our GDP is driven by the consumer, if we continue on this road too long, our economy will not be able to grow much beyond population growth, which is running between 1 percent and 2 percent.”

Since the depths of the recession in 2008, 97 percent of the jobs lost in Idaho and Idaho Falls have been recovered; 91 percent in Pocatello. U.S. unemployment stands at 7.3 percent, but Idaho’s rate is 6.1 percent and Pocatello’s rate is 5.6 percent, Price said, defining the unemployment problem as more structural than cyclical, which he blamed on declining skills of the American work force.

“The baby boomers are starting to retire in greater numbers. They take with them years of experience and skills that are difficult to replace,” he said.

While the Gen X and Millennial generations have many talented, productive workers, they generally don’t have the educational attainment that their counterparts in other countries have, especially those in Asia, said Price, who sits on the Idaho Business for Education’s board of directors.

The IBE and leaders of all post secondary educational institutions in the state support the Idaho State Board of Education’s goal for 60 percent of all of the state’s young people between 24 and 34 to have some level of post-secondary education by 2020. Now, only 30 percent in that age bracket do.

“It will be very hard to get a job without at least a technical or professional certification or an associate’s degree,” Price said, noting the top three job sectors in Idaho and Pocatello are government, health care and retail trade.

“Retail is the only sector where you can get a job without some sort of post-secondary education. Unfortunately that sector pays the least. In Bannock County the average earnings per job is $41,518. For retail, the average job pays
$27,254,” he said.

The combined labor force in Bannock, Bingham and Bonneville counties is down about 600 workers to 129,891, underscoring the need for a regional economic development effort, he said, praising the technical training at Idaho State University and the Eastern Idaho Technical College.

“I believe Idaho’s workers are willing to enroll in programs that will provide them with the skills if we can attract the employers,” Price said.

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Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Bergdahl video appears from Afghanistan (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, Moscow News)
Battle over Shakespeare Festival land (Boise Statesman)
Counties resist additional medical costs (Lewiston Tribune)
Dog control in Lapwai may increase (Lewiston Tribune)
WSU tuition might drop with legislation (Moscow News)
Activism about megaloads through Moscow (Moscow News)
Luna okays Common Core testing scaldown (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa library project finances uncertain (Nampa Press Tribune)
Common Core at legislature (Pocatello Journal)
Pocatello senior center closes over asbestos (Pocatello Journal)
Blackfoot state of the city talk (Pocatello Journal)
Carrie Logan sworn as new Sandpoint mayor (Sandpoint Bee)
Bonner assessor seeks re-election (Sandpoint Bee)
Critics blast wolf killings (TF Times News)
Fish & Game panel appointees questioned (TF Times News)

Highway 99 cam at Junction City for trucks (Eugene Register Guard)
YMCA increased offer for Civic Stadium (Eugene Register Guard)
Dispute over Klamath County charter (KF Herald & News)
Meeting on gase grouse rules, rancher impact (KF Heralf & News)
Splitting strategies among Jefferson advocates (Ashland Tidings)
Petition to limit guns in Ashland (Ashland Tidings)
Pendleton urban renewal weakening (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Two Umatilla commissioner seek to reup (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Pendleton prison official demoted (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Legislators mull liquor system (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)
Legislator calls for ending Cover Oregon (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)
Racial equity report card on legislators (Salem Statesman Journal)
Private forest owners wnat replanting help (Salem Statesman Journal)

Hanford reach exhibit gets $100k donation (Kennewick Herald)
Krush Ultra Lounge at Seqium closes (Port Angeles News)
Sequim reviews city hall options (Port Angeles News)
More problems with Bertha (Seattle Times)
Catholic organizations filing gays who marry (Seattle Times)
State points to Spokane for Boeing development (Spokane Spokesman)
New owner for Spokane Shock football (Spokane Spokesman)
More state aid to Boeing? (Vancouver Columbian)
Two Clark credit uninions merge (Vancouver Columbian)
Pot ban at Yakima progresses (Yakima Herald Republic)
Clinic for farm workers shifts affiliation (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

rainey BARRETT


Someone – we don’t know who just yet – but someone has pulled back the curtain on that pudgy little fella working the controls in New Jersey politics. And what we see back there is he’s just a real – and flawed – little guy like the rest of us. He’s really not “larger-than-life.” He’s really not a “different kind of politician.” And he won’t be on the presidential ballot in 2016. He’s lied. Several times. And it’s been proven.

Though a follower of things political, I’ve tried to avoid getting into this Christie mess. In the first week or two of disclosures of the abuses in the George Washington Bridge story, the whole thing seemed like a tempest in a Jersey teapot. Disgraceful actions by an overzealous staff run amok. Just the usual B.S. But Christie himself, a New York media blitz, the purely amateurish and irrational actions of some of his Republican political travelers and pictures – those damning pictures – have made it impossible to “walk on by.”

When this whole thing blew up a couple of weeks ago, I said to myself “Self,” I said. “This guy’s a pro. He’s tough. He’s a straight shooter. He’ll ream out his staff, throw out the garbage and put the whole thing to rest. Nothing to see here. Go on to something else.”

But Christie has become his own worst problem. At first, he hunkered down. Silence. Then he decided spending two hours on his feet with New York and national media would put the whole thing to rest. It didn’t. For two reasons.

First, answering questions from 60-70 reporters while staying “on message” for that time is impossible. You’re going to get the same questions 12 different ways. And, if you stray from the absolute truth just once, you’re going to screw up and contradict something before it’s over. Christie thought he could beat that. He didn’t. He screwed up several times.

Second, his lengthy appearance “on camera” was probably the longest continuous stretch he’s stood before the national public to be looked over. What he showed was not the image of a controlled, even-tempered, intelligent and wise decision-maker in command of his duties. Presidential material, as it were. He was alternately churlish, apologetic, humble, over-bearing, articulate, inarticulate, knowing, unknowing, aware of detail, unaware of detail and obviously reaching to find new answers to questions already answered. He lost me when he tried to make himself a victim going through the “cycles of grief.”

Compounding his problems has been his Republican “friends.” Rather than trying to find something honest and positive to drum up public support for Christie in his time of trial, Giulani, Santorum, Huckabee and the Republican scribes at Fox dragged out Benghazi and the IRS – trying to use the oft-disproved lies of the loony right to divert attention to the White House. And those guys want us to put them back in public office? Really?

On his own, Christie has shown himself to be a chief executive either out-of-touch with his own top-level staff or he’s created a staff that freelances with the governor’s name and image – and he allows it. He’s either ceded control of affairs of the State of New Jersey to others while pursuing his national political ambitions or he’s too isolated to know what’s going on in the office next door. Either he’s the jovial, wise politician he tries to depict or he’s the bully using the powers of his office to punish those who don’t follow his line.

Those two hours in front of the cameras could well have been the single, most self-destructive turning point in Christie’s political fortunes as he tried to win back an increasingly suspicious media. Or, maybe there’ll be many smaller turning points – the ones accumulated over the years in which it seems he or his renegade staff punished perceived New Jersey political non-adherents to the Christie management style.

It’s not possible to believe Chris Christie didn’t know – long ago – of the bridge debacle and the resulting multi-government and citizen reaction to it. There’s proof of that already. It’s not believable that his staff kept an ambitious politician so successfully sequestered from events that so impacted the very voters he needs as his political base for further national successes. We’ve got proof of that, too.

Chris Christie today may be the same guy he was 30 days ago to New Jersey supporters. But he’s not the same guy he was 30 days ago to a national audience that had little knowledge of his more earthy persona. And of his hardball political proclivities.

The only guy I know who could stand in the breech and take on a hundred swordsmen successfully was Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Chris Christie is no Doug Fairbanks!

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carlson CHRIS


Students at Bellevue’s Eastside Catholic High School are in the process of learning the old lesson about how unfair authority can appear. In the process, though, they may turn the tables and provide Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain their own “teaching moment.”

As most parents know, each generation has an evolving sense of “fair play.” Youth is quick to spot hypocrisy and utter the phrase all parents hear too soon: “that’s not fair!”

All authority figures, whether parents, politicians, priests or the police, end up replying with some version of “life’s not fair, kid,” or “that’s tough, that’s the way life is.” And the young respond with “That doesn’t make it right,” or “That’s not the way it should be.”

Part of the problem is each generation believes it has a superior sense of justice as well as an expectation that justice is truly blind to the inequities created by money and power. Infusing this expectation is a concurrent sense that most issues are black or white with consistency prevailing, not gray and inconsistent.

The issue at hand is the forced resignation by the Archdiocese just before the Christmas break of Mark Zmuda, a beloved teacher, administrator and coach for the past 13 years. By all accounts he is a competent, professional person performing well.

His “mistake” (and sin in the eyes of the Church) was that of availing himself of his right under Washington law to marry his same-sex partner last summer. Some one complained to the Archdiocese that this was a violation of his contract which requires conformance with Catholic teachings.

Before this matter has run its course the Eastside Catholic students may indeed extract the proverbial pound of flesh by creating continuing publicity which at a minimum will embarrass an Archbishop they believe should have known better than to step into this particular cow pie.

While probably aware of the slippery slope he was about to step onto, and also aware that Pope Francis’ reluctance to “judge” homosexuality would surely be cited by critics, the Archbishop clearly felt that a “don’t ask, don’t tell” implied tolerance was not an option. While the issue is a divisive one, Church teaching is clear regarding marriage as between a man and a woman with a primary purpose of propagating the species.

As recently as January 1st Pope Francis reiterated his personal support for the traditional Church view in a joint interview with the Cardinal of Malta.

Defending the school (And the archdiocese) was attorney Mike Patterson, who more often has represented the archdiocese in lawsuits growing out of charges of priestly abuse of minors in past years. Both he and the Archbishop should know that an issue like same-sex marriage is NOT a mere matter of contract law or historic Church doctrine, but rather a matter defined by the perception created by a liberal media.

The Archdiocese nonetheless has now opened itself to other questions reflecting contradictions and inconsistencies. Is the archdiocese going to force the resignation of its Catholic employees who are divorced but remarried outside the Church (i.e., no annulment)? Or what about Catholic female teachers who have practiced or currently are utilizing some form of birth control other than Vatican roulette?

One suspects students at Eastside Catholic, as well as other Catholic schools around the northwest, whether it is Jesuit High in Portland, or DeSales in Walla Walla, or Gonzaga Prep in Spokane or Bishop Kelly in Boise, are going to see and seize the opportunity to tweak dioceses everywhere by posing awkward questions and/or holding sympathetic walk-outs of their own.

Youth will be served and before it accedes to authority prevailing simply because time marches on and they move on, youth will extract that pound of flesh.

In the process some student somewhere is going to look both Archbishop Sartain and attorney Patterson in the eye and say “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

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Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Bus accident report targets driver (Boise Statesman)
More charges for Bujak, Canyon prosecutor (Boise Statesman)
Legislature looks at dental care cost (Lewiston Tribune)
Inslee would boost minimum wage (Lewiston Tribune)
Bennett mill reopens near Clarkston (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow review sewage temperature (Moscwo News)
Pullman plans sewer line to Airport Road (Moscow News)
Flu spreading (Pocatello Journal, Sandpoint Bee)
No gay joint tax returns in Idaho (Pocatello Journal)
Conditions good for avalanche (Pocatello Journal)
Western States Equipment builds in Pocatello (Pocatello Journal)
TF reviews Snake canyon jump cost (TF Times News)
Gay marriage, add the words at Statehouse (TF Times News)
Sage grouse meeting packed (TF Times News)

Flu rates rising, response (Eugene Register Guard)
Attorney suggests revising stadium deal (Eugene Register Guard)
Two Hermiston council members to depart (Pendleton East Oregonian, Hermiston Herald)
Hermiston police wanted growing business initiative (Hermiston Herald)
Klamath County mulls $144 jail fee for all (KF Herald & News)
Klamath Project water cut in half (KF Herald & News)
Considering dangerous dogs in Medford (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Maybe more residential in east Medford (Medford Tribune)
Vote planned for Medford teachers (Medford Tribune)
Potholes yield suit against Penfleton (Pendleton East Oregonian)
CRC officials at legislative hearing (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)
Firearms still packed at PDX (Portland Oregonians)
Near-record low for Oregon traffic fatalities (Portland Oregonian)
Salem considers school boundaries (Salem Statesman Journal)

Inslee state of state, minimum wage (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Spokane Spokesman, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
State might override local pot bans (Tacoma News Tribune, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick TriCity Herald)
Snohomish internal battle over tech department (Everett Herald)
Hanford budget may rise (Kennewick TriCity Herald)
Gun range may growth with grant (Longview News)
Longview PUD may raise manager pay (Longview News)
New Clallam prosecutor (Port Angeles News)
Port Angeles business groups unite (Port Angeles News)
Machinist union chief retires (Seattle Times)
Regional economic boost still on (Spokane Spokesman)
Senator Murray promotes CRC (Vancouver Columbian)
Oregon reviews CRC options (Vancouver Columbian)

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First Take


Josef Stalin was famously quoted as saying with snorting dismissiveness, in a discussion of European power politics: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?”

It was the response of an authoritarian mind interested not in right or wrong, better or worse, or even the long term – only in immediate raw capabilities.

This is not – certainly! – a comparison of personalities, but the quote by state Senator Rodney Tom widely circulated today brought that old Stalin line to mind. Tom was asked about the new Washington Supreme Court report concluding that the legislature had seriously underfunded public schools in the state, and strenuously … advised … the legislature to take action on it. It was a report that quite a few people seem to have taken seriously.

Tom’s attitude was a little different. Asked about the court’s take on education funding, he said, “Let them have at it.”

In other words, how many votes (as opposed to army divisions) in the legislative chambers has the court got?

Tom, though the majority leader of the Senate, is in effect just the co-leader, along with the head of the Republican caucus; but he in fact may be speaking for the governing caucus in the Senate. If so, he’s calling for the legislature to simply defy the state’s Supreme Court. (The third branch, led by Governor Jay Inslee, would be differently inclined.)

It may be able to do that for a while. But eventually, a price will be paid. Watch how the session, and the election following, play out.

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trahant MARK


The adjective of the day is “modest.” That’s the standard phrase to describe the $1.012 trillion spending bill for a federal fiscal year that has less than nine months left. The bill gives modest relief from the sequester. There are tiny (I can’t bring myself to say “modest” even in jest) increases in some federal programs, including the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and it puts off the fight over the size and nature of government until another day.

This is the Budget of Meh. It better reflects a broken governance structure than it does true spending priorities. Neither the right, those who want to shrink government, nor those of us who want to the government to invest in key program areas can claim victory. Meh.

This budget reflects a continuing trend of austerity. The federal government is shrinking. Sort of. And austerity rules.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, took credit for this idea in his news release about the compromise spending plan. “The Omnibus will fulfill the basic duty of Congress; it provides funding for every aspect of the federal government, from our national defense, to our transportation systems, to the education of our kids,” Rogers said. “The bill reflects careful decisions to realign the nation’s funding priorities and target precious tax dollars to important programs where they are needed the most. At the same time, the legislation will continue the downward trend in federal spending to put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path.”

But Rogers’ line of thinking is misleading. This huge, 1,500-plus page spending bill, only covers federal dollars that are appropriated, about one-third of the budget. This is the budget that’s shrinking, while two-thirds of the budget continues untouched on an automatic pilot, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance and, I hope, money that is pumped into the Indian health system through the Affordable Care Act.

So for Indian Country the appropriations process is broken beyond repair; business as usual is no more. The federal programs that have served Indian Country well are essentially continuing to shrink. The Omnibus budget, for example, shows an increase of $18 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Eighteen million! Wow. In percentage terms that’s less than one percent. The IHS increase is under 2 percent.

If that sounds modest, consider that the amount includes a one percent raise for federal employees as well as services for a growing population. The population increase for Indian Country last year was about 1.5 percent (about twice the rate of the general U.S. population.) The case is clear that we, as a country, should be investing in younger American Indians and Alaska Natives. This is the time to create opportunity, both in terms of education and jobs. Instead all we can muster is that collective “meh.”

This trend will not change unless Congress changes. Radically. The idea driving austerity is bipartisan in nature. And, even though the problem with federal spending has very little to do with annual appropriations, that’s where the action has been. We could zero out this side of the budget and there would still be a long-term spending problem.

But for Indian Country there is opportunity in this budget. We must add as many Indian health dollars as possible to the entitlement category. To make that happen, there needs to be a much stronger campaign to educate American Indians and Alaska Natives about the disaster that is appropriations — and show how and why the Affordable Care Act is the alternative. Signing people up for health insurance of any kind is Indian Country’s patriotic act because it defies those who would cut us into oblivion.

In its budget justification to Congress, the Indian Health Service projected a modest (there’s that word again) increase in third-party billing, Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. The total is just over a billion dollars. What if that number doubled? That’s a billion dollars that does not have to be appropriated by Congress. A billion dollars to actually invest in a healthier Indian Country. That’s a billion dollars that won’t be reversed by dwindling appropriations.

Or we can stick with budgets of meh.

Mark Trahant is the 20th Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is a journalist, speaker and Twitter poet and is a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Comment on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TrahantReports

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Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Kerry gives two Idaho potatoes to Russian minister (Boise Statesman)
Hiring on wolf hunter mangering conservationists (Boise Statesman)
Spokespeare Festival prepares for property law ruling (Boise Statesman)
Banks won’t handle legal pot money (Boise Statesman)
H&W: Public assistance use rises in Idaho (Lewiston Tribune)
Lapwai school may review ‘Braves” team name (Lewiston Tribune)
Pullman has 11 applicants for marijuana shops (Moscow News)
Upgrading downtown Moscow crosswalks (Moscow News)
Local levies in Caldwell and Middleton (Nampa Press Tribune)
New Nampa Council member (Nampa Press Tribune)
Last year was good for Canyon real estate (Nampa Press-Tribune)
Gunrights advocates hold event at Statehouse (Pocatello Journal. Sandpoint Bee)
Sandpoint will choose new mayor (Sandpoint Bee)
Twin Falls on alternate Snake River jumper (TF Times News)
Improvements needed in managing water (TF Times News)

Mass apartment evictions land in court (Corvallis Gazette Times)
OSU center named for president’s wife (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Former Lane commissioner sued for adminstrator report (Eugene Register Guard)
Eugene council may divest investments in energy (Eugene Register Guard)
End of week deadline for Klamath water deal (KF Herald & News)
KF school given to YMCA (KF Herald & News)
California mall buyer adds to KF holdings (KF Herald & News)
Still thin snow at ski area (Ashland Tidings)
No increase in Applegate Lake speed (Medford Tribune)
Albertsons at Pendleton closing (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Oil shipping trains roll through (Pendleton East Oregonian)
CRC discussion ahead (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Expension at Good Shepherd Hermiston hospital (Pendleton East Orgonian)
Mohamud’s attorney call for FISA reports (Portland Oregonian)
Oregon at 28 enrolling for private health insurance (Portland Oregonian)
Banking tough for pot dealers (Portland Oregonian)
Cleaning railroad tunnels (Salem Statesman Journal)

Ski areas get more snow (Everett Herald)
Legislature begins, okays DREAM (Tacoma News Tribune, Spokane Spokesman, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Kennewick Herald, Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
Health enrollment figures released (Kennewick Herald)
Yakama Tribe seeks pot ban in large region (Longview News)
Unity plan for Port Angeles Business groups (Port Angeles News)
Boeing sales compared to Airbus (Seattle Times)
Assistant Seattle police chief retires (Seattle Times)
Rick Larsen loses Machinists endorsement (Seattle Times)
Planning for Tacoma Amtrak station (Tacoma News Tribune)
CRC gets another look (Vancouver Columbian)
Albertsons closes more stores (Tacoma News Tribune)
Yakima auditor won’t run again (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

Bellingham Bay

 The Port of Bellingham and Washington Department of Ecology removed approximately 230 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the construction site. The soil is contaminated with low levels of metals and hydrocarbons. The soil is stockpiled nearby while arrangements are made to properly dispose of it. Crews have been investigating the area known as the Westman Marine cleanup site for contamination left behind from previous boat and shipyard work dating back to the 1940s. (photo/via Department of Ecology)
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Briefings Washington