News Stories 2/4/19

A measles outbreak has spread across the Northwest, which has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. There are 45 confirmed cases in Washington and Oregon. At a forum in Bend today/on Friday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said state laws requiring immunizations are relatively weak by national standards. She urged parents to get their kids vaccinated. The vast majority of the cases — 37 out of 42 in Clark County, Washington — have been linked to people who did not have vaccinations for measles. Only one case occurred in a person who was vaccinated.

Yakama cigarette manufacturer King Mountain Tobacco has requested the U.S. Supreme Court review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision ordering the company to pay about $58 million in unpaid federal excise taxes. King Mountain is owned and operated by the Wheeler family — Yakama citizens — and is located on tribal land in White Swan. The Wheelers have long argued that the Yakama Treaty of 1855 shields their tribal-licensed business from state and federal taxes. Under the treaty, Yakamas have the right to freely travel all roads and highways. That clause under article 3 of the treaty has been interpreted in other cases as including a right to freely bring goods to market. The Wheelers say the Ninth Circuit erroneously overlooked that interpretation when it made its decision last August. In their brief seeking a review by the nation’s highest court, the Wheelers argue the Ninth Circuit ruling focused on the manufacturing of their products, but that the taxes involve the shipment of products.

The 24th annual Eagle Watch celebration will return Feb. 23-24 to Round Butte Overlook Park. The event will feature activities that explore the natural and cultural significance of the eagles and other raptors that inhabit the Lake Billy Chinook area. Erin Bennet, park ranger with The Cove Palisades State Park says “Eagle Watch is a great way to discover how these birds fit in and what we can do to help as environmental stewards.” Festivities will be held in “Eagle Village” at the Round Butte Overlook Park’s visitor center. An estimated 11 pairs of Bald eagles and nine pairs of Golden eagles live in the wilds surrounding Lake Billy Chinook. With migratory eagles joining the resident population in late winter, the area is one of the largest gathering spots for eagles in Oregon. Eagle Watch is coordinated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with Portland General Electric, Crooked River Grassland and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

A simple click, or a few minutes putting a child passenger in the right safety seat system, could save the cost of a ticket – more importantly, it could save a life. Law enforcement officials will be out all across Oregon to help ensure that happens Feb. 4 – 17 in an overtime campaign using funds from ODOT. n 2016 in Oregon, lack of a safety belt or child restraint system was a factor in 89 deaths – or 26 percent of the 343 motor vehicle occupant fatalities. Oregon law requires children to ride in a rear-facing safety seat until they are at least two years old. A child over age two must continue to ride in a car seat with harness until 40 pounds and then in a booster until they reach age eight or 4’ 9” in height and the adult belt fits them correctly.