Writings and observations

Seattle bike
 
How an intersection might look on the future Waterfront depicts the connections between bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles.. (image/Seattle Department of Transportation).

 

Elections, of course, dominated news coverage last week in Oregon and Idaho, as a U.S. Senate contest provided some of the big headlines in the former, and a battle of two slates within the Idaho Republican Party offered drama in the latter.

Washington, just a week away from its candidate filing period and still in a relatively quiet political moment, saw less dramatic headlines. A series of noteworthy studies, however, were released around the state shining fresh spotlights on a range of topics. See more about all of this in the Oregon, Idaho and Washington Briefings, out this morning.

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Briefings

Carlton fire
 
A fire broke out late on May 11 at the Scott Paul winery in Carlton. The cause was determined to be accidental. The building and some of its fixtures were scorched, but no wine apparently was damaged. (Photo/courtesy McMinnville Fire Department)

 

Elections dominate matters this week. Candidate filing closed last week in Washington, and the rose of congressional, legislative and judicial candidates – 350 of them – are in the Washington edition.

Oregon and Idaho have primary elections this week, so this edition wraps up the end of the campaigns for that stage. And, in Idaho, there’s a look at the gone-viral Idaho Republican governor’s debate.

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murray minimum wage
 
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today announced the details of a broadly-supported plan to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, the highest of any major city in the nation. (Photo/Office of Mayor Murray.

 
Seattle’s move toward adopting a $15 minimum wage may have been the big news in the region last week, marking the adoption of a high wage in a major jurisdiction – in a state that already has the highest state minimum wage in the country. Expect aftershocks from that to ripple along in coming weeks.

Primary election day (or, in Oregon, mail-in deadlines) are fast approaching, and political campaigns in Oregon and Idaho are heating up. In Idaho, both incumbent and challenger in the governor’s race have gotten plenty vocal. And debates are continuing there this week.

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Obama at Oso 
President Obama looks out an airplane window at the effects of the mudslide at Oso. He also stopped nearby and met with officials and survivors of the incident.

 
The Oso mudslide saw a few more big developments last week, but it appears likely to be generating fewer large news headlines from this point.

Meantime, political activity began picking up in Oregon and Idaho (candidate filing deadlines are still ahead in Washington), and campaign ads began hitting the airwaves in some force.

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car dragged
 
Marion County Sheriff’s Office last weekend responded to the 2900 block of Wintel Road SE because Kyle Randall, age 24 was knocking on doors and asking residents for a place to sleep. After arriving deputies noticed a plume of smoke in the distance that turned out to be a car fire. When they went to investigate the fire they located the burned out carcass of the vehicle Randall had been driving. So after interviewing Randall and evaluating the scene deputies believe the following occurred. At around 5 a.m. Mr. Randall was driving east on Wintell Road when he drove through a stop sign and ran into a passing train. The train hooked his vehicle and drug him approximately 300 feet. Randall came to a rest, exited his vehicle and then sought out shelter from nearby residents. Randall was not injured in the crash, he was however arrested for DUII and taken to the Marion County Jail. At the jail his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. (Photo/Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

 
Political news is ramping up in this week’s editions of the Briefings, along with a range of other activities, from recovery at Oso (and plans for President Obama’s visit there) to the odd case pictured above of a car crashing into a train in Oregon, dragged 300 feet – after which the driver walked away apparently without a scratch.

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Oregon

 
IN THE OREGON WEEKLY BRIEFING The 173rd Fighter Wing will conduct night flying operations April 14-17, 2014, between approximately 9 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Night flying is one part of the course curriculum for F-15 student pilots at Kingsley Field. “Night flying is a critical skill which our students need to learn to be effective war fighters,” said Col. Jeremy Baenen, 173rd Fighter Wing commander. “We understand the disruption to the community during night flying weeks, but we try our best to minimize the noise impact.” The community will most likely hear the jets during take-offs and approaches to and from Kingsley Field. Most of the training will occur in military operating airspace east of Lakeview.” (Photo/Oregon Military Department)

 
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cubs
 
Zawadi Mungu, proud father of the pride, is now spending time with his cubs. He’s a 500-pound mega-carnivore capable of pulling a buffalo to the ground, but Zawadi Mungu now plays a new role: cat toy. Last week, the male lion ventured outside with his trio of energetic cubs for the first time, and demonstrated a remarkable tolerance for a flurry of pint-sized attacks on his mane, tail and patience. The cubs were first introduced to their dad in their indoor den a few days earlier.. (photo/Oregon Zoo)

 

The end of the legislatures – concluding last week in Oregon, probably next in Washington and possibly the week after in Idaho – were persistent subjects in this week’s Briefings.

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news

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)

Mountain lion killed near Boise (Boise Statesman)
Critiques of state, CCA agreement (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Clearwater Paper says Lewiston site important (Lewiston Tribune)
Review of Idaho, Washington gambling (Lewiston Tribune)
Dorn’s McCleary plan for school funds (Moscow News)
Bolz will opt out of legislature this year (Nampa Press Tribune)
Electric grid upgraded around Firth (Pocatello Journal)
Rural broadband support measure advances (Sandpoint Bee)

Heavy snow hits again (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, KF Herald & News, Corvallis Gazette Times)
County official says commissioners knew of changes (Eugene Register Guard)
Graduation rates assessed (Hermiston Herald, Ashland Tidings)
Bureau of Reclamation water management (KF Herald & News)
Local film festival leadership change (Ashland Tidings)
Medford teacher strike day 2 (Medford Tribune)
Bates plans dredge mining rule changes (Medford Tribune)
PERS legislation and local budgets (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Energy mandate rules may change (Portland Oregonian)
Salem YWCA splits from national group (Salem Statesman Journal)

500 with low income get vouchers (Everett Herald)
Ads coming to state web sites (Everett Herald)
Shooing terns from Columbia islands (Kennewick Herald)
Grandview will do free summer school (Kennewick Herald)
More Bertha damage (Seattle Times)
Questioning if there were 700K at fest (Seattle Times)
Idaho trap snares Canadian lynx (Spokane Spokesman)
WA House members pay rises (Tacoma News Tribune)
Heavy snow again (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)

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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

bridge conference
 
Press confernce at the Skagit bridge. (photo/Washington Department of Transportation)
 

Collapse of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River near Mount Vernon was the hot topic last week and into this one – even occurring as it did near the end of the week. I-5 is the major throughway for most people in Washington and not only that, the major west coast throughway. A break in its run anywhere is a critical matter.

And it matters not only for that but also for the proposed Columbia Crossing project to the south, over the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver. Its fate hangs in the balance as the special session of the legislature hits its heart and decision time approaches.

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Briefings