03-05-2024  3:36 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State Agrees $8 Million a Year for Tribes Hit By Opioid Deaths

With Native Americans and Alaska Natives in Washington dying of opioid overdoses at five times the state average Washington lawmakers have agreed to allocate milliona year to 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington from a half-billion-dollar settlement between the state and major opioid distributors. The funds will help tribes address the opioid crisis

Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump Receives Honorary Doctorate from Lewis & Clark College

Crump has represented the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Henrietta Lacks. 

Washington State House Overwhelmingly Passes Ban on Hog-tying by Police

The vote on Wednesday came nearly four years after Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man, died in Tacoma, Washington, facedown with his hands and feet cuffed together behind him.

NEWS BRIEFS

Senate Passes Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package with Bipartisan Support

Major legislation works to stabilize and house Oregonians living on the streets, put affordable housing within reach for everyone ...

House Passes Oregon Drug Intervention Plan (ODIP)

New approach to crisis response aims to increase opportunities for treatment, reduce recidivism, and prevent overdoses ...

House of Representatives Addressed Oregon’s Addiction Crisis

We are committed to closely monitoring the rollout of this bill, particularly with concerns to racial disparities. ...

Moving Ahead to 'A Better Red'

Tri Met’s MAX Red Line trains will begin serving the new Gateway North MAX Station on Monday, March 4. ...

Portland Value Inn Is Renamed Jamii Court

The new name for this affordable housing redevelopment, Jamii, means community and togetherness in Swahili ...

Oregon lawmakers voted to recriminalize drugs. The bill's future is now in the governor's hands

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The future of an Oregon bill that would roll back the state’s first-in-the-nation drug decriminalization law is now in the hands of Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek. The bill — which would make the possession of small amounts of drugs a crime once more — has...

History-rich Pac-12 marks the end of an era as the conference basketball tournaments take place

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tara VanDerveer managed to compartmentalize her emotions as she chased down and eclipsed Mike Krzyzewski’s all-time wins record earlier this season, determined to focus only on the moment ahead. And that's how the Hall of Fame Stanford coach is approaching the...

Georgia hosts Ole Miss after Murrell's 21-point game

Ole Miss Rebels (20-9, 7-9 SEC) at Georgia Bulldogs (15-14, 5-11 SEC) Athens, Georgia; Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK LINE: Bulldogs -2; over/under is 149 BOTTOM LINE: Ole Miss plays the Georgia Bulldogs after Matthew Murrell scored 21 points in Ole...

East leads Missouri against No. 13 Auburn after 27-point game

Auburn Tigers (22-7, 11-5 SEC) at Missouri Tigers (8-21, 0-16 SEC) Columbia, Missouri; Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK LINE: Tigers -11.5; over/under is 149 BOTTOM LINE: Missouri hosts the No. 13 Auburn Tigers after Sean East scored 27 points in...

OPINION

Message from Commissioner Jesse Beason: February is 'Black History and Futures Month'

I am honored to join the Office of Sustainability and to co-sponsor a proclamation to mark “Black History and Futures Month” ...

Ending Unfair Contracts Harming Minority Businesses Will Aid Gov. Kotek’s Affordable Housing Goals

Senate Bill 1575 will protect small businesses from state and local government’s unfair contract practices while also allowing the building industry to help the governor meet her affordable housing project goals. ...

February is American Heart Month

This month is a time to recognize that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, especially in the African American community ...

Thrilling History of Black Excellence in Our National Parks

In every facet of American life -from exploration; conquest; defense; economy; resistance; conservation and the pursuit of human rights – I can show you a unit of the National Park System where the event took place, where African Americans made the...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Miami Beach is breaking up with spring break — or at least trying to

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Miami Beach is trying to break up with spring break, but it's not yet clear whether spring break will take the hint. After three consecutive years of spring break violence, Miami Beach officials are implementing monthlong security measures aimed at curbing...

Crowded race for Alabama's new US House district, as Democrats aim to flip seat in November

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The race for Alabama's 2nd Congressional District, which was redrawn by a federal court to boost the voting power of Black voters, has sparked congested and competitive primary contests. Democrats see an opportunity to flip the Deep South congressional seat...

Girl Scouts were told to stop bracelet-making fundraiser for kids in Gaza. Now they can't keep up

Missouri Girl Scout leaders threatened legal action against a troop that made bracelets to raise funds for starving children in Gaza, provoking outrage and ridicule from the girls’ supporters and advocates for people trapped in the Palestinian territory by the latest humanitarian crisis. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Ned Blackhawk’s 'The Rediscovery of America' is a nominee for ,000 history prize

NEW YORK (AP) — Ned Blackhawk's “The Rediscovery of America,” winner last fall of a National Book Award, is a finalist for a history honor presented by the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project. Blackhawk's account of Native Americans over the past five centuries is among five nominees...

Once doomed to cult status, the animated satire 'Clone High' finds a new life on Max

NEW YORK (AP) — In one of the weirdest high schools in history, Cleopatra is dating class president Frida Kahlo and John F. Kennedy's best friend is Abraham Lincoln. This is “Clone High,” a cult animated show that's enjoying a new life on the streamer Max some two decades after...

Book Review: Thomas Mullen’s portrayal of a divided nation in 1943 draws parallels to today

It’s 1943, a quarter century after the armistice that ended the so-called Great War, and Americans are once again fighting in foreign lands, battling the ascendant Empire of Japan in the Pacific and confronting Germany’s Afrika Corp along the southern rim of the Mediterranean Sea. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

China sets an economic growth target of around 5% but acknowledges it will not be easy to achieve

BEIJING (AP) — China aims to achieve 5% economic growth this year, Premier Li Qiang said Tuesday, acknowledging...

Industrial fire and multiple explosions shoot debris into the air in Detroit suburb

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A fire raging at an industrial facility caused multiple explosions that rocked...

Democrats make play for veteran and military support as Trump homes in on GOP nomination

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Highway signs welcome drivers entering North Carolina to “the nation's most military...

France becomes the only country to explicitly guarantee abortion as a constitutional right

PARIS (AP) — French lawmakers on Monday overwhelmingly approved a bill to enshrine abortion rights in France's...

3 Red Sea data cables cut as Houthis launch more attacks in the vital waterway

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Three cables under the Red Sea that provide global internet and...

Transit of migrants through the Darien Gap resumes as Colombian boat companies end work stoppage

BOGOTÁ, Colombia (AP) — Migrants bound for the U.S. are once again crossing the Darien Gap in large numbers,...

Bill Mears CNN Supreme Court Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Obama administration struggled to keep its legal head above water at the Supreme Court Tuesday as it defended a series of federally controlled and managed floods that caused major timber damage along an Arkansas river.

A majority of the justices appeared inclined to believe that the periodic release of water from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam project begun two decades ago was a government "taking." That legal designation would require the federal government to compensate the state for damages.

The property rights dispute is narrow and unique in many ways, but could clarify the standards for determining the scope, length of time, and impact of government actions affecting many property owners -- private and public.

At issue for the high court is whether the resulting downstream flooding was effectively "permanent" and therefore a "taking," or was merely "temporary" and only a "trespass."

The state of Arkansas owned the flooded land and had earlier won a $5.6 million judgment. Several on the bench appeared inclined to side with the state.

"You knew when you opened up the dam that this is where the water was going to go," Chief Justice John Roberts said to the federal government lawyer.

"Your position seems to be that if it's downstream, somehow it's not the government's water," said Justice Anthony Kennedy. "It's like the old moral refuge that the rocket designers take: I only make the rockets go up; where they come down is not my concern."

The Army completed the Clearwater Dam in 1948, along the Black River in southeastern Missouri, in response to prior natural flooding. About 110 miles downstream, in northeastern Arkansas, is the Dave Donaldson Wildlife Management Area, 23,000 acres of state-owned riparian land used for duck and game hunting, wildlife management, and timber harvesting.

Federal rules for decades had managed normal release of the water, and provided for both "planned" and "unplanned minor deviations." Beginning in 1993 the Corps launched a series of planned, irregular deviations -- quick releases of water during the summer growing season in part to give upstream farmers more time to harvest their crops without their fields becoming inundated.

Under the unique dynamics of stream flow and hydraulics, the result was higher water levels downstream, and long-term flooding of the state property during the critical growing period. The series of deviations lasted until 2000.

The Constitution's Fifth Amendment forbids "private property be taken for public use without just compensation." Even thought the land in question is state property, all sides have treated the land as "private" in nature for purposes of settling the "takings" dispute.

Attorney James Goodhart, arguing for Arkansas, said 100,000 trees were destroyed in 1999 alone, as the controlled, temporary flooding exacerbated a drought at the time. "This management area sat in water during June, July, into August, basically, stagnated water that choked the oxygen from the roots of these trees," he said.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned the premise. "The problem with this case," she said, "is that flooding is going to occur naturally anyway. The (federal) government generally builds dams to control that flooding to the benefit of all of the interests along its affected route. And at some point, either the government is going to going to make a decision that's going to help someone and potentially hurt someone. And the question is, are all of those situations going to be subject to litigation."

Sotomayor was later equally tough in her questioning of the federal government.

Justice Stephen Breyer was more blunt. "The problem with a flood is you don't take all the land. You send some stuff in. And the stuff is there for a while, and then it comes back. It's called water."

But Justice Department lawyer Edwin Kneedler got into trouble when he argued the controlled dam releases created only "incidental consequences downstream from the dam as a result of the flowage" and that the flooding was not an "occupation by the government."

"So if the government comes in and tells a landowner downstream that every March and April we are going to flood your property so that you can't use it from now on -- that's part of our plan -- that's a taking for those two months, correct?" interjected Roberts. When Kneedler said no, the chief justice shot back, "That's not a taking?"

Justice Antonin Scalia added that this is clearly a case of "a 'foreseeable and certain' incidental consequence."

Kneedler replied it is "hard to explain" how a government action affecting land 110 miles downstream is "direct" in nature. He also argued the congressional Flood Control Act of 1928 -- resulting in a hundreds of federally funded dams across the country -- would not have become law if the government believed it would to be liable for all its good-faith efforts.

"Of course, that (congressional action) can't overrule the (Constitution's) Takings Clause, can it?" replied Scalia. "I mean, that's nice that Congress doesn't want to be liable," he joked.

Sotomayor said she had "significant problems" with the administration's articulation.

The high court has dealt with several flooding cases over the years examining whether damages should be paid by the government. In a similar 1924 dispute, the high court concluded a taking required an "actual, permanent invasion of the land, amounting to an appropriation of and not merely injury to the property."

It is that gateway question the justices must first navigate: whether the Corps of Engineers' flood deviations were in fact a taking. The compensation questions would come later.

In one of the Supreme Court's most controversial recent eminent domain cases, the majority in 2006 allowed a Connecticut city to condemn a private, mostly residential neighborhood, in order to lease the land to a private developer for a high-end development project. The city justified the seizure as a "public use," generating jobs and higher tax revenues.

Justice Elena Kagan is sitting out the Arkansas appeal and did not attend the one-hour oral arguments. She had litigated the case in some form during her previous job as the administration's solicitor general. Her absence could result in a 4-4 high court tie, which would be a victory for the U.S. government, but would set no precedent.

The case is Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. U.S. (11-597). A ruling is expected by spring.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast