Entries in Oregon (55)


Insecticide Kills Over 25,000 Bees in Oregon

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WILSONVILLE, Ore.) -- The mystery of why thousands of bees fell from the sky has been solved, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

The department announced Friday that it has determined an insecticide caused the deaths this week of 25,000 bees in Wilsonville, Ore.

The bees were found scattered across a parking lot earlier this week.

Mace Vaughn and his partner Rich Hatfield of the non-profit environmental group the Xerces Society worked with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to discover the cause by painstakingly picking up specimens of dead bees.

“We’ve lost a hundred, a hundred fifty colonies at least just from this area — just wiped them out,” Vaughn told ABC News affiliate KATU-TV in Portland.

On Friday, the Oregon Department of Agriculture determined the bees were killed by an insecticide called Safari, which is used to kill aphids. The trees where the insecticide was used are being netted to protect any surviving bees that might wander into the area.

The death of the bees in Oregon comes as colony collapse disorder threatens honeybee populations across the U.S.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, beekeepers have been reported losing between 30 to 90 percent of their colonies since 2006. There is no known cause for the disorder, in which bees abruptly leave the hive.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Misspelled Word Drives Man to Terror Attempt

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(SALEM, Ore.) -- A man accused of trying to blow up a sign at the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission office told employees that he acted because a word on the building's sign was misspelled.

The sign, which is missing the letter "D" in the word "and," reads "Teacher Standards an Practices Commission," according to the Statesman Journal. The man, 50-year-old Leonard Burdek, told multiple employees that the sign prompted his attempted bombing.

Burdek walked into the building and placed a pressure cooker with wires sticking out of it onto the counter in front of a receptionist, says the Statesman Journal. After the receptionist asked him to leave, she began to dial 911, prompting Burdek to take the pressure cooker and go.

After he left, the staff immediately locked the doors of the building.

According to the Statesman Journal, shortly after the initial incident, employees spotted Burdek in a van nearby and informed police. Burdek was taken into custody at about 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Burdek apparently complained that the instructions he had found online to build the device were rife with misspelled words as well.

While the device did not turn out to be a bomb, Burdek was charged with disorderly conduct.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bomb Plot Suspect Spoke to Classmates About Bombs Weeks Before Arrest

Facebook; ABC News(ALBANY, Ore.) -- An Oregon high school student accused of plotting to blow up his school had approached classmates to talk about bombs weeks before his arrest, according to students.

Grant Acord, 17, a junior at West Albany High School, was arrested late Thursday at his home on two counts of possession of a destructive device and two counts of manufacture of a destructive device, according to the Albany Police Department.

But prosecutors say he will be charged as an adult with aggravated murder and is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Benton County Circuit Court.

West Albany High School student Thomas Stone said Acord approached him in class two weeks ago and initiated a conversation about bomb-making materials.

"He was just, just kind of randomly came up to us and started talking about the different materials that you need to make a bomb," Stone told ABC News affiliate KATU-TV. "Like, he was describing how to make one, which thinking back should have brought up more suspicion."

"You know, I didn't think much of it 'cause he's kind of a strange kid," Stone added. "So I wasn't surprised he had some strange hobbies, you know?"

Keagan Boggs, another West Albany student, said he overheard Acord approach a group of students and mention bombs.

"It wasn't like 'Oh, I'm making bombs, I'm gonna blow stuff up,'" Boggs told KATU. "It was just talking about it, like something that you wouldn't really think like 'Oh, he's gonna blow something up. Like a school.'"

Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson said the teen had a detailed plan, timeline and a deadly cache of weapons "specifically modeled after the Columbine shootings," that killed 13 people and injured 21 more in 1999.

According to Haroldson, the explosives police allegedly found hidden in a secret compartment under the floor of his bedroom included pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, napalm bombs and explosives made from drain cleaner.

Acord had also picked a date for the plot to unfold, according to Haroldson, but he would not elaborate.
Police were alerted to the case by a tip from a 911 caller that Acord had made a bomb, planned to blow up his high school and asked friends to film the incident when it happened, officials said.

Other classmates at West Albany High School described Acord as a "happy" and "nice" person.

"I'd say 'hi' to him in the hallway, cause I was kind of ... was like, 'Well, I should probably talk to this kid ... make sure he feels OK,'" West Albany student Dennis Reilly said. "So, I'd talk to him sometimes and he seems like a pretty nice guy."

As Acord heads to court Tuesday morning, his classmates will be heading back to school after the Memorial Day weekend, thankful the alleged plot was foiled.

"I was just, like, shocked and like even more thankful we are all still alive," said Boggs. "Because he could have, he had plans, like he could have done it any day. He obviously was ready. He was just waiting for the right moment."

The school's superintendent said police and bomb dogs have swept the high school twice and found no devices.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oregon HS Student Accused of Attempted Murder in Alleged Bomb Plot

ABC News(BENTON COUNTY, Ore.) -- A student at West Albany High School in Benton County, Ore. will be charged with attempted aggravated murder after authorities say he planned a bomb attack on his school, prosecutors said Saturday.

Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson says the suspect, 17-year-old Grant Acord, had amassed a stockpile of explosives with the intention of attacking his high school, including pipe bombs, home-made napalm and Molotov cocktails.

Documents found alongside the explosives in a secret compartment underneath the floor in Acord’s room indicate that he specifically modeled the planned attack after the 1999 Columbine massacre. The Columbine shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, had planned to use explosives during their attack, but the bombs did not work properly.

Acord’s plot was uncovered thanks to a call to 911 that tipped off police before the attack could take place.

Haroldson says Acord will be charged as an adult with attempted aggravated murder. “The charge of attempted aggravated murder requires that we prove that a substantial step was taken toward the completion of the crime,” he said.  

"This is beyond a kid playing with a couple of cherry bombs. It was serious enough to warrant calling out the bomb squad," Albany police Capt. Eric Carter told ABC affiliate KATU-TV in Portland.

"This went above and beyond teenage curiosity," he said.

No bombs were found in or around West Albany High School.

“I will be a little on edge,” said Dennis Riley, who attends West Albany High School. “I mean this whole thing is so scary, I mean, because of the potential that it could've had if somebody didn't come forward.”

Authorities do not have a motive for the planned attack at this time.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Teen Daughters Lift 3,000-Pound Tractor, Save Father's Life

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LEBANON, Ore.) -- An Oregon man who became pinned by his 3,000-pound tractor has his teenage daughters to thank after they were able to lift the machine off him and quickly summon help.

Jeff Smith, 36, of Lebanon, Ore. was on his 1949 Ferguson tractor on April 1, trying to pull a stump out of his wife’s garden when, while putting it in reverse, his muddy boot slipped off the clutch. With the tractor chained to the stump, the full weight of the tractor fell backwards, right onto his chest. Pinned, Smith immediately called to his teenage daughters for help.

“I was yelling, ‘Oh God, save me.’ There was enough pressure on me, I didn’t know if anyone could hear me. I had just told them to walk the dogs, then I got on the tractor,” Smith told ABC News. “I didn’t know they were outside, or if anyone would hear.”

Luckily for Smith, Haylee, 13, and her older sister Hannah, 16, were outside walking the neighbor’s dogs at the time. They heard their screaming dad, and within 30 seconds they were by his side, and had started trying to dig him out.

“Originally, they tried to dig a little underneath the tractor to free me up, but it wasn’t working. They couldn’t dig enough. I told them they need to try to lift on the front,” he said. “The first time they lifted it, it gave me a brief moment to get a breath in. I couldn’t move yet. They let it down, and it expelled that breath I got. Then they lifted it again and I was able to wiggle.”

Smith said that with the help of his girls, he was able to twist his body away from tractor, getting it off of his torso. But his arm was still pinned. As Haylee hopped on a 4-wheeler to get help from a neighbor, Hannah continued digging underneath her father to relieve pressure.

“It was helping,” Smith said. “I could feel pressure being relieved.”

The neighbor quickly hopped on his tractor and rushed over, and was able to free Smith using his tractor’s shovel.

Sherry Smith, Jeff’s wife, told ABC News that she was in town buying groceries when she received a call from her daughter. Jeff had told her not to tell her mom what had happened. But she did — and at first her mother didn’t believe her, given that it was April Fools’ Day.

“I said, ‘bulls**t. Let me talk to your dad. Let me talk to the paramedics,” she said. “When they said, ‘This is Lebanon Fire Department EMT,’ I went, 'What??’”

Sherry Smith said she rushed to the hospital, and got there before the ambulance.

When the ambulance arrived at their home, the paramedics allowed the shaken girls to ride with their dad to the hospital. Though Haylee, who was a little more flustered, had to ride in the front. Hannah rode with her dad in the back.

“Both of them were amazing, how well they stayed composed during this whole thing,” Smith said. “I don’t know if either of them had a chance to stop and think what could have been.”

Sherry said that her husband, who is already back at his job as a millwright manager, is seeing a neurosurgeon and an orthopedic doctor. In the end, he escaped with a broken wrist, and said he is regaining some feeling in his forearm, thumb, fingertips and chest. But he’s happy to be alive, and thankful for his girls.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about recognition for them,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t been there.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oregon Sheriff May Release Undocumented Immigrants to Ease Jail Overcrowding

Kevin Horan/Stone(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Multnomah County, Ore., officials say they will decide this week whether to endorse a proposed detention policy to allow undocumented immigrants jailed for nonviolent misdemeanor crimes to be released.

Sheriff Dan Staton, who has been drafting the proposed policy shift with county chair Jeff Cogen, said the move is necessary to make space for violent criminals in his overcrowded jails.

“I’m releasing people who are committing burglaries. I’m releasing people that are stealing vehicles. I keep releasing people that are low level drug offenders and I’ve got to put a stop to it,” Staton told ABC News’ Portland affiliate KATU-TV.

The proposed policy would mean local officials would decline immigration holds issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials for nonviolent offenders, according to a copy of the proposal found on the Multnomah County Commissioner’s website.

ICE can issue holds to federal, state and local law enforcement to ask that they hold an undocumented immigrant for 48 hours while officials investigate whether the person entered the United States illegally.

Because Multnomah County isn’t compensated for holding the alleged undocumented immigrants, the practice places an “undue burden on the county,” according to the proposal

“Moreover, the unmitigated compliance with ICE detainers requests has the potential of further straining the resources of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and occupying scarce and costly jail beds that should be reserved for those who pose the greatest threat to public safety,” the proposal said.

Staton has said he will continue to honor the immigration holds for undocumented immigrants accused of felonies and misdemeanor violent crimes.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform, a group advocating for “sustainable” immigration, said the policy shift was “rewarding” to undocumented immigrants.

“Either we’re a nation of the rule of law or we’re not, and rewarding people who are here illegally — specifically here illegally — rewarding them with a special condition is a slap in the face to everybody who goes through the immigration process lawfully,” member Jim Ludwick told KATU.

The Multnomah County Board is expected to vote on whether to endorse the proposal on April 4, however their decision does not affect whether it becomes official.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Missing Oregon Hiker Found Alive on Mount Hood

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- The Oregon National Guard found a missing hiker on Saturday morning after days of searching.

The hiker, 23-year-old Mary Owen, had been missing since last Sunday when a Black Hawk helicopter from the Oregon National Guard did a flyover of the Sandy Glacier area Saturday morning. During the flyover, Owen was spotted and recovered.

Owen was transported to a local hospital where she was determined to have suffered frostbite and a possible fractured ankle.

Owen, was last heard from last Sunday when she told a friend that she was preparing to climb Mount Hood. The police were alerted that Owen was missing on Thursday by the same friend, according to the Oregonian.

Authorities located Owen's vehicle on Thursday night in a parking lot at Timberline Lodge. Concerns mounted as authorities were unable to determine what hiking equipment Owen had with her.

Owen was located a significant distance from her vehicle, but not too far from the trail, according to Deputy Marcus Mendoza of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the Oregonian Owen is an experienced hiker who had completed the Pacific Crest Trail -- which ranges from Mexico to Canada -- during a nine month adventure.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oregon Girl Scouts Hoaxed on 6,000-Box Cookie Order

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Two Oregon Girl Scout troops say they were hoaxed into believing they had made a huge corporate cookie sale for $24,000, or 6,000 boxes of cookies.

But the troops aren't letting the scam keep them down and already have a plan for triumphing over the trick.

The Girl Scouts were thrilled with the order that appeared to come from a woman who worked at a local company.  Two troops put aside boxes for the massive order.

The problem came when they called the company for the payment.

"I contacted the ... company and they said, 'We have no idea what's going on,'" scout mother Jennifer Reed said on ABC's Good Morning America Sunday.

The Girl Scouts realized they had been duped, but it was too late.  They had already put the order through and received the cookies.  They found themselves with 500 cases of cookies and no sales money for their summer camp and the homeless shelter they had committed to helping.

"They placed a fake order on us and they didn't know that it hurt our feelings a lot," Girl Scout Erin Donnelly, 8, said.

But they didn't let the trick keep them down for too long.  They held an emergency sale at the Portland Girl Scouts headquarters on Saturday and hundreds of supporters lined up to buy the cookies.

By the end of the day, they had sold about half of the cookies and recovered $12,000.  They also learned some valuable life lessons.

"For every one person that has bad intentions, there are hundreds more with good intentions and good hearts that are here to help you," said Sarah Miller, director of communication for Girls Scouts of Oregon and Washington.

The troops are planning a second sale on March 23.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Apparent ‘Butt Dial’ to Oregon Police Leads to Drug Bust

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOLALLA, Ore.) -- A “butt dial” – an accidental call made without the caller’s knowledge – can result in an overheard conversation and maybe some awkwardness if the wrong thing gets said.  But in a recent Oregon case, the call was beyond awkward: It may have been incriminating.   

Raleigh Reynolds, 25, was arrested on felony drug charges Monday after an apparent “butt dial” to the Molalla Police Department during what the dispatcher believed was a drug deal.

“There have been a lot of laughs about it,” Molalla Sgt. Chris Long told ABC News. “Our job isn’t usually that easy.”

The emergency dispatcher tracked the phone’s GPS signal to an alley next to a local bar, which was located 100 yards from the police department, Long said.

Long added that there were two people on foot nearby, both of whom denied having a working cell phone. The on-scene officer spoke loudly so that the dispatcher could confirm she could hear him through the cell phone.

“In the 13 years I’ve been doing this, I have never had anyone butt dial a drug deal,” Long said. “We have had a lot of people butt dial, which is serious because it can tie up the 9-1-1 system.”

Inside a nearby vehicle believed to belong to Reynolds, the officer found some methamphetamine and a small amount of marijuana, police said. The woman who was with Reynolds had the cell phone in her purse, police said.

Reynolds was jailed on multiple drug charges, released on bail, and is currently awaiting a court appearance. Attempts to reach Reynolds were unsuccessful and police did not know whether or not he had an attorney.

The woman with Reynolds was cited with a violation for less than an ounce of marijuana.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oregon Woman Who Refused to Give Dog Back Agrees to Plea Deal

Hemera/Thinkstock(CORVALLIS, Ore.) -- An Oregon woman who took a loose dog home and refused to give him back to his owner has given up her months-long fight to keep the canine.

Jordan Biggs, 20, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge Friday in a Corvallis, Ore., courtroom, as part of an agreement arranged between her attorney and the prosecution.

The dog drama began in March 2011 when Chase, a husky mix, jumped over a fence at his Portland home.

Biggs found the dog, named him Bear, and took him home with her after she said she was unable to locate the owner. She said she trained the canine to act as a service dog in the event she had an asthma attack, according to local reports.

More than a year later, Sam Hanson-Fleming, the rightful owner of the dog, spotted his pet pooch with Biggs at a Portland coffee shop.

The Multnomah County Animal Services conducted an investigation and determined Hanson-Fleming was the rightful owner. Biggs, however, refused to part with the dog and said it had been abused and neglected in Hanson-Fleming’s care.

An investigation found no evidence to back her claims, and in October, Hanson-Fleming was reunited with the dog he named Chase as a puppy.

Biggs filed a lawsuit to regain custody of the dog, but as part of her plea deal, she has agreed to concede Hanson-Fleming is the rightful owner, negating the suit.

She was also sentenced to 80 hours of community service, ordered to attend a civic responsibility course and must stay away from the dog, The Oregonian reported.

If all of the terms are completed within six months, the court will expunge the case from her record.

Hanson-Fleming told the Corvallis Gazette-Times last week he thought the plea deal was a “slap on the wrist.”

“I do not feel that she should be allowed to plead out to a lesser charge,” he said. “She should have to sit in jail for the time my dog sat in jail.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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