Pendleton police recover majority of missing Indian regalia

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — Authorities have recovered American Indian artifacts and regalia that were stolen from a storage shed in Eastern Oregon.

Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts tells the East Oregonian that officers found about two-thirds of the missing items, including many irreplaceable pieces. Most were at a business not far from the shed.

The family that owns the items reported the theft on May 31. They had not been to the shed for weeks, so police don’t know when the theft occurred.

Roberts said news of theft led to many tips, and one of them panned out.

Governors wary of Medicaid cost shift in Senate health bill

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Governors in several states that opted to expand Medicaid are wary of the Senate Republican plan to end the added federal funding for it within seven years.

The proposal released Thursday calls for a slower phase-out of the Medicaid expansion than a bill adopted by the House. Yet it still would force those states to figure out what to do about the millions of lower-income Americans who used it to gain health coverage.

The doubts about the latest plan are coming from Republicans, Democrats and the nation’s one independent governor.

Among the Republicans voicing concern are Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sihk) and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. They say the GOP plan could leave hundreds of thousands of people in their states without coverage, including those dealing with chronic health problems.

Gov. Brown: No deal on tax reform this year

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers in Salem have surrendered their efforts to overhaul Oregon’s corporate tax code before the Legislature adjourns.

The announcement came in a statement Thursday morning issued by Gov. Kate Brown, House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney.

Democrats exhausted their efforts in recent weeks to raise millions of additional revenue from businesses for the upcoming 2017-19 budget. As a tax hike, Democrats’ proposal needed some support from Republicans, who refused to budge for months.

Brown, Kotek and Courtney say they’ll try again likely in 2019.

On Wednesday, lawmakers solved a huge chunk of the budget deficit, previously $1.4 billion, by passing several health care-related taxes and policies that’ll fill nearly $900 million of that gap.

Rainbow Family members start gathering in Oregon

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Concern is growing in a conservative, remote corner of Oregon as people start arriving in a national forest for a Rainbow Family of Living Light annual gathering, a counter-culture get-together expected to draw thousands.

Officials with the Malheur National Forest said this week that already 600 Rainbow Family members are camped at a gathering site near Flagtail Meadow and that between 10,000 and 30,000 are likely to arrive by July 4.

An Indian tribe said the site is within its ancestral territory and asked for attendees to respect its cultural resources.

U.S. Forest Service resource specialists are making sure that kitchens, peace circles, and latrines are located appropriately to protect the landscape, plants and animals.

The site is near the town of John Day in Eastern Oregon.

Crater Lake National Park north entrance road to open Friday

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, Ore. (AP) — Officials say Crater Lake National Park’s North Entrance Road will open Friday for travel.

Crater Lake National Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman said Thursday that visitors will be able to drive to and from the park using the route accessed from Oregon Highway 138.

Park snow removal crews are now focusing on opening other parts of the park, which had above average snowfall. Over three feet of snow remains on the ground at park headquarters, and snow depth is greater in many places around the rim.

The park is in the third year of a road construction project to improve Rim Drive and this year most work is occurring along the West Rim. Officials say visitors should expect rough road conditions and delays of up to 30 minutes on that route.

Total solar eclipse casts spotlight on rural Oregon town

MADRAS, Ore. (AP) — The first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 99 years will first be visible in Oregon.

State officials expect up to 1 million people for the Aug. 21 event.

As many as 100,000 of them could wind up in and around the central Oregon town of Madras.

It’s predicted to be one of the best viewing locations in the nation with its high-desert location and flat landscape.

That will make it easy to watch as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, casting a lunar shadow on our planet.

The town has hired an eclipse planner to coordinate with 50 federal, state and local agencies.

Every hotel room in town has been booked for years and 25 campsites in the area are filling up.

Forestry officials fretful of flammable cheatgrass outbreak

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Federal and county forestry officials are concerned that this year’s large outbreak of the invasive cheatgrass could lead to increased wildfires.

Deschutes County Forester Ed Keith says a wet winter and spring has led to taller, thicker patches of the grass. Cheatgrass is common throughout the Western U.S. It dries out and becomes very flammable around summer after sprouting anew starting in December.

The Bend Bulletin reports that the grass tends to grow along roadways, which in 2015 sparked a 105-square-mile (272-square-kilometer) wildfire when a vehicle struck the grass.

Keith says cheatgrass is in Deschutes County’s lowest-priority class in part because it’s so widespread. He said he talks to landowners about how to manage growth on their properties, but doesn’t focus on removing it because of its abundance.