New Stories May 17, 2018

WASHINGTON – Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, with Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR 2) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR 4) announced Wednesday that Congress has passed the Oregon Tribal Economic Development Act, which allows certain tribes in Oregon to lease and sell property that they own. The Oregon Tribal Economic Development Act allows certain tribes in Oregon to forego that additional approval on privately held lands. The bill does not affect property that is held in trust by the United States, which means the federal government holds the legal title to the land in trust on behalf of a tribe, and tribal government manages the land for the communal benefit of the tribe. Merkley and Wyden led the Act in the U.S. Senate, and Walden and DeFazio led a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. The tribes in Oregon impacted by this bill include the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians; Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon; Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon; Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.

Oregon has announced it will replace hundreds of old diesel-powered school buses. A new report suggests replacing them with electric buses is the best choice for children’s health, the environment, and the state’s coffers. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says it will use money from the 72-million dollar Volkswagen emissions-cheating settlement to replace about 450 school buses. Both D-E-Q and the report from Environment Oregon note diesel emissions are dangerous for kids and can worsen respiratory diseases and conditions such as asthma. D-E-Q has not announced how the new buses will be powered, but a 2017 law requires Oregon to upgrade older diesel school buses by 2025.

Prosecutors in Oregon have filed more than a hundred charges in an investigation of wildlife poaching that has spanned state lines and allegedly left dozens of animals shot illegally and sometimes left to rot. The Wasco County District Attorney’s office charged eleven people with misdemeanor wildlife crimes in that county Tuesday. Some of those charged in Oregon are also being prosecuted in Washington state for allegedly killing bears, deer, elk or bobcats illegally. Members of the loose network often filmed or photographed their hunts. Officials in both states have said the case is among the largest and most complex they’ve ever investigated, but still have not pinpointed any specific motives of the alleged poachers, other than to kill for thrill.

And, Madras High School Baseball hosts Mazama in a play-in game today at 4:30. The Softball team is on the road on their way to their play-in game at game at North Bend High School, which is at 4:00. Go Buffs!