Oregon House approves joining National Popular Vote movement

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon House has voted to join an agreement among states that want to elect the U.S. president by popular vote.

Wednesday’s 34-23 vote fell along party lines in the Democrat-controlled House and now goes to the state Senate.

The Oregon House has voted to join the National Popular Vote compact three times since 2009, but each effort was blocked in the Senate by President Peter Courtney, a Democrat.

Courtney says he’ll allow it this year if Oregon voters have the final say, likely in November 2018.

The popular-vote movement gained new momentum after President Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory last fall. The compact would sidestep the Electoral College when enacted by states with at least 270 total electoral votes. So far it has 165, and Oregon would add seven.

University of Oregon seeks tuition increase of 10.6 percent

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The University of Oregon again will ask a state commission to approve a double-digit tuition increase for in-state students.

The Register-Guard reports the university’s proposal is on the agenda for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s Thursday special meeting.

On May 11, the commission rejected a previous proposal by the university to raise its 2017-18 tuition by 10.6 percent for in-state residents.

Since 2013, Oregon law has required commission approval for any increase of more than 5 percent to in-state tuition at Oregon’s public universities.

Commission spokeswoman Endi Hartigan had said concerns about the lack of student involvement in tuition-setting played a part in the commission’s rejection.

The university had responded that a group of students, faculty and staff members held seven meetings and information about the proposal has been posted online.

Timber company plans lawsuit over Elliott Forest

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon timber company reportedly plans to sue its home state for $3.3 million after its plans to buy the Elliott State Forest recently fell through.

The Coos Bay World reports attorneys for Lone Rock Timber Management Company of Roseburg alerted the Oregon State Lands Department of their plans last week in an email.

Lone Rock was the sole bidder for the 82,500-acre forest, which was on sale for $220 million as a way to meet its financial obligation to produce funds for public education. The state land board reversed its decision to sell it earlier this month.

Lone Rock’s attorneys say the company has suffered millions of dollars in out-of-pocket losses and lost business opportunity, and will seek tort claims for misrepresentation and negligence.

Trump budget would allow sale of wild horses for slaughter

PALOMINO VALLEY, Nev. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s budget proposal calls for saving $10 million next year by selling wild horses captured throughout the West without a guarantee from buyers that the animals won’t be resold for slaughter.

Wild horse advocates say the change would gut nearly a half-century of protection for wild horses and could send thousands of free-roaming mustangs to foreign slaughterhouses for processing as food.

They say the Trump administration is kowtowing to livestock interests who don’t want the region’s estimated 59,000 mustangs competing for precious forage across more than 40,000 square miles of rangeland in 10 states managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Trump’s budget anticipates the savings would come through a reduction in the cost of containing and feeding the animals. The savings also would include cutbacks involving roundups and contraception programs.

Wine and weed? Some Oregon vineyards try hand at pot farming

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s legalization of recreational pot two years ago is creating room for the wine industry to branch out in the southern part of the state.

The fertile region borders California’s so-called Emerald Triangle, a well-known nirvana for outdoor weed cultivation.

Recreational marijuana won’t be legal in California until next year, but a few miles north of the border in Oregon, a handful of winemakers are experimenting with pot.

These growers want to increase their appeal among young consumers and in niche markets and cash in on the recreational marijuana boom.

Vineyards are also ripping out grapes in favor of weed or leasing acreage to private pot growers.

The enthusiasm comes with a caveat. Marijuana is illegal at the federal level and wineries must keep separate tax lots for wine and weed or risk losing their federal license to bottle and sell wine.

Snowy plover chick hatches in Nehalem Bay State Park

NEHALEM, Ore. (AP) — A Western snowy plover chick has hatched on a beach at Nehalem Bay State Park, the first hatchling spotted there since the 1960s.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said Wednesday that the species is showing signs of recovery along Oregon’s southern coast but this is the first hatchling in the Nehalem Bay area in Tillamook County.

Western snowy plovers are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and are protected in all West Coast states.

Plovers nest in shallow scrapes in the sand that are almost invisible.

The birds will abandon the eggs if the nests are disturbed.

The Nehalem nesting area is clearly designated with signs and remains off-limits until the nesting season ends.

Woman dies in boating crash on Columbia River

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a woman died after the boat she was on crashed into a pylon on the Columbia River.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office says deputies and Port of Portland fire crews responded Monday night to a report of a boat sinking near the Glen Jackson Bridge.

Deputies found a man and a woman in the water near the north end of the bridge.

Sheriff’s Lt. Chad Gaidos says the woman died from her injuries at Southwest Washington Medical Center. The sheriff’s office has identified the woman as 46-year-old Heidi Knight of Wilsonville, Oregon.

The boat operator was identified as 55-year-old Steven Schalk of Milwaukie, Oregon who was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Gaidos says the boaters weren’t wearing life vests and that speed and water conditions were likely factors in the crash.