Sheriff asked to investigate Oregon newspaper, stoking ire

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Journalists have risen in defense of a small newspaper after a county attorney asked the sheriff to investigate whether its journalists broke the law for trying to get comments after business hours for an investigative story.

Malheur (mal-HYUR) County Sheriff Brian Wolfe said Wednesday that his department has determined no crime was committed. He said in a telephone interview that the issue is an emotional one, and that his department believes in freedom of the press.

Staffers at the Malheur Enterprise, a weekly newspaper in the remote eastern Oregon town of Vale, said they are just doing their job.

The newspaper was investigating why a business didn’t receive an exemption for property taxes. Bluebird Express Car Wash built a $4 million installation after it believed it received the exemption.