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Entries in Oregon (6)

Sunday
Feb032013

Bakery Denies Same-Sex Couple Wedding Cake

Jeffrey Hamilton/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Sweet Cakes, an Oregon-based bakery, says on its website they make “cakes for any occasion.”

But that isn’t the case, according to one customer, who says she was denied a cake for her same-sex wedding.

The bride-to-be filed a complaint on Jan. 28 with the Oregon Department of Justice, which is looking into the allegation.

Aaron Klein, who owns the bakery with his wife, Melissa, told ABC News affiliate KATU-TV,  he was living in accordance with his religious beliefs when he declined to make the brides a wedding cake.

“I honestly did not mean to hurt anybody, didn’t  mean to make anybody upset, [it's] just something I believe in very strongly,” he said.

The Oregon Equality Act was enacted in 2007 and prohibits public accommodations, including businesses, from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Klein, however, said he believes his actions are protected by his Constitutional right to practice his religion as he sees fit.

According to KATU, there isn’t an exception under the anti-discrimination law for religious beliefs, so the case would be left for a judge to decide.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct232012

Oregon Meth House Owners Deliver Petition to Freddie Mac

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An Oregon family who unknowingly bought a house that had been used as a meth lab is delivering a petition to Freddie Mac to require that the government-sponsored housing organization's homes be tested for methamphetamine residue before being sold on the market.

The Hankins family thought they had a good deal when they bought a foreclosed home in Klamath Falls, less than 20 miles north of the California border.  A realtor showed them the home, which was sold through HomeSteps, a listing service for Freddie Mac.  They purchased it for $36,500.

Jonathan Hankins, 32, and his wife, Beth, 29, started renovating the home in early June and moved into the two-bedroom 850-square-foot home before the end of the month.

After three weeks of living in their home, however, they started having severe headaches.  Their 2-year old son also became sick, past the point of being just a moody toddler.

"We mostly experienced extreme dry mouth and had mouth sores, making it extremely painful to even drink water," Hankins said.

The family moved out of their home and stayed with Beth's parents for six weeks before renting a property 10 blocks away from their home.

"We like to keep an eye out on it," Beth, a nurse, said of their home.

The Hankins were not sure why they were sick until neighbors told them they suspected the home may have been a former illegal methamphetamine drug lab.

The couple said they contacted contractors who advised them to have the home tested for meth residue.  They bought a kit for $50 and swabbed their home.  After submitting their results to a lab, they learned that they had 38 micrograms of methamphetamine residue.  The Oregon Health Authority's minimum to require a homeowner to clean up their home is 0.5 micrograms per square foot.

The family contacted Freddie Mac, trying to get answers about why they were not informed about the home's history.  The problem is the local authorities did not contact the Oregon Health Authority, as is customary, because there were no recent drug-related enforcement actions related to the home.

"It's kind of sad," Hankins said.  "It's a great block.  It's one of those neighborhoods that went through a rough stage and it's on the upward swing.  People are taking care of their yards and homes.  Now it's another abandoned property."

The couple started a petition on Change.org to "stop selling former meth labs to unsuspecting buyers," garnering over 200,000 signatures.

They have also been on a national media circuit since earlier this month, trying to spread awareness about an issue that homes across the country have experienced.

A spokesman for Freddie Mac provided a statement to ABC News, saying they bought the home in an "as-is" condition.

"We empathize with the Hankins but neither we nor the listing agent had prior information about the home's history," the statement read.  "If we had, such information absolutely would have been disclosed.  We strongly encourage buyers to inspect homes and to conduct any tests they want to before making a purchase decision."

Freddie Mac said it encourages "home shoppers to see if the addresses of homes that interest them are on the registries state and federal agencies keep of known clandestine meth labs."

The federal registry can be found on the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Clandestine Laboratory Register website.

Freddie Mac also said "concerned home shoppers can also check an address with local law enforcement."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec042011

Occupy Camp Death in Texas, Arrests in Oregon

Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty Images(DENTON, Texas) -- A man’s body was found overnight Saturday in one of the tents at the Occupy encampment at the University of North Texas in Denton, about 30 miles north of Dallas.

Occupy members immediately recognized him, not as a student or a protester, but as a homeless and drug-addicted man who’d been taken in by the group and given food and shelter. Police are investigating the death, but say they don’t suspect foul play.

Many on campus are now calling for an end to the encampment. Some are posting angry notes on the school's newspaper site, demanding that Occupy Denton be shut down; others are expressing condolences on the group’s Facebook page.

Occupy Denton says the death is a chance to highlight the plight of the homeless.

Meanwhile, in Portland, Ore., several Occupy protesters were arrested Saturday night after defying police orders to leave a park, despite police warnings that overnight camping would not be tolerated.

Protesters tried to hold their ground as police moved into the park, but police with riot gear started pushing them back. There was a lot of pushing and shoving, and finally protesters decided to move a few blocks away to city hall, where they began a march back through downtown Portland.

Police took down tents Occupy protestors put up earlier on Saturday. Protesters have now headed back to the original park block where they were kicked out of last night, but they do not appear to be setting up tents once again.

Protesters were chased out of two other city parks two weeks ago.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug102011

One Man's Bailout Plan for His Oregon Town

George Custer of Oakride, Ore. (ABC News)(OAKRIDGE, Ore.) -- The city of Oakridge, Ore., faced a serious shortfall of $420,000 of its $3 million budget. In a city of 3,221 people, several Oakridge employees were laid off and the city was looking to secure loans for its deficit.

"No one knows at this time what happened" to the money, said resident George Custer of the town's debt.

Call it Custer's Last Stand against debt: he launched a one-man bailout plan -- an attempt to raise the deficit himself as a concerned citizen.

He began soliciting private loans from citizens to cover the shortfall. He called individuals, some who were willing to lend to the city and referred Custer to more people to call. Within days, the city of Oakridge secured a $500,000 bank loan and there was no need to use Custer's citizen loans.

"When people grumble about the government this and the government that, I tell them 'look, we are the government,'" said Custer. "Each and every individual in this country is the government. You may not like, necessarily, the current administration but you are either part of the problem or part of the solution."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Oregon Dad Faces Foreclosure as Son Is Returning from Iraq

ABC News(BEND, Ore.) -- Chase bank is scheduled to foreclose on Tim Collette's home in Bend, Oregon in about a week.  All Collette wants to do is keep his home until his son visits in August from serving in Iraq.

With time running out, public officials are helping Collette, his son and thousands of others navigate the often frustrating mortgage modification maze in a shaky housing market.

His son Aaron, 20, has been deployed with the Army in Iraq since February and is scheduled for a temporary visit home in August for 15 days.

"All he wants is to rest and sleep in his own bed," Collette said.

Collette, a specialty contractor, said he had always paid every bill and mortgage payment on time, with a credit rating of 810, just below the highest possible score of 850.  When Collette bought his home in June 2006, he even put down $100,000 as a down payment to avoid borrowing too much.

But after the economy and the housing market took a turn for the worst, he lost his job in 2008.  Unsure how long he would be unemployed and trying to prevent future problems with his mortgage, Collette said, he sought the advice of his bank, Chase.

Collette, 59, said bank staff advised him to miss two mortgage payments in order to qualify for a loan-modification program.  In 2009, Collette said, he and Chase entered into a forbearance agreement, which is a temporary solution to delay foreclosure.

He said Chase had him jump through hoops for a year and a half before ultimately rejecting him for a modification.  The banks also demanded the full payments that he would have made.

A Chase representative Thursday said the bank is working with the Collette family on a solution.  Collette received a notice of foreclosure in October 2010 and the foreclosure will officially take place on June 20.

But Collette said U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the Oregon attorney general and a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, Economic Fairness Oregon, have tried to assist him.

Merkley spoke during a Senate debate Thursday about Collette's situation and offered an amendment with other senators to the Public Works and Economic Development Reauthorization Bill.

The bill would require banks and other mortgage servicers to create a single point of contact for borrowers, end the dual track process of foreclosing homes while homeowners are negotiating a modification, and provide an independent, third-party review before sending a family to foreclosure, according to a statement from Merkley, Sen. Olympia Snowe, (R-ME), Sen. Jack Reed, (D-RI), and Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-RI)

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb182011

Obama Visits Intel Plant, Urges Investment and Innovation

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (file)(HILLSBORO, Ore.) -- President Obama visited a cutting edge Intel plant in Hillsboro, Ore. Friday to learn how to make American kids more competitive in math and science.

“One of my staff said it’s like magic,” the President said to laughs after describing what he’d just seen inside. “I have to say for all the gadgets you’ve got here what’s actually most impressive is the students -- the science projects that I got a chance to see.”

Inside the plant’s manufacturing facility, the president was given a “window tour” of the high-tech chip making process by Intel CEO Paul Otellini.

“If we want to make sure Intel doesn’t have to look overseas for skilled workers then we have to invest,” the president told a group of about 350 Intel employees and local dignitaries. “We have to out build, out innovate and out hustle the rest of the world.”

The trip is part of the president’s efforts to focus education more directly on math and science to compete in a high-tech global marketplace. He pointed out that over the next ten years nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree – a significant shift.

“And yet today as many of a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school,” he said. “We can’t win the future if we lose the race to educate our children.”

At the event, Intel’s CEO announced plans to hire 4,000 U.S. employees this year as well as plans for a new $5 billion factory in Arizona.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio