Weekday Wrap: A lawsuit over Labor Day fires, unusual weather and 87 neglected cats

By OPB staff (OPB)
Oct. 19, 2022 12:06 a.m.

Stories you may have missed from staff reports and our news partners around the region

Trial set for high-stakes Labor Day fires suit against Pacific Power

The trial date for a high-stakes class action lawsuit that blames Pacific Power for igniting four of Oregon’s 2020 Labor Day fires is set for April 2023. Plaintiffs include owners of 2,500 properties burned in the Beachie Creek and Santiam Canyon fires, along with the Echo Mountain, 242 and South Obenchain fires. The outcome of the trial will impact anyone harmed by the fires, even if they haven’t taken legal action. (Zach Urness, Statesman Journal)


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Unusually warm October ends with Friday rains

October began with record-breaking warm temperatures, but Meteorologist Colby Neuman with the National Weather Service in Portland said the unusually warm streak is coming to an end. Rain and cool temperatures, more commonly associated with the Willamette Valley’s fall weather, are expected this Friday.

“We should start off dry on Friday, but by the end of the day it should be raining across pretty much all of northwest Oregon, and southwest Washington,” Neuman said.

Sporadic showers should continue through Saturday and into next week.

“It just looks like more or less that the weather pattern is gonna be a lot more active than anything we’ve seen yet this fall,” Neuman said. " And it’s gonna be a return to weather that you might normally expect in late October and November.”


On Saturday, the snow levels are coming down to between 4,000 and 5,000 ft. Accumulating snow is expected, though exact levels are unknown. Neuman said 3-6 inches is possible at or above 5000 ft. (Alex Hasenstab, OPB)

Fog and unhealthy air to return Wednesday and Thursday

A temperature inversion that led to heavy fog in the Portland-Vancouver metro area Tuesday morning was also responsible for trapping smoke from the Nakia Creek Fire in Clark County, leading to unhealthy air quality levels. The air cleared in the early afternoon.

But Harry Esteve with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says that Wednesday and Thursday mornings will likely have unhealthy air again.

”It’s a good idea to try to stay indoors with your windows closed and not go out unless you need to,” he said. The air quality should improve by the afternoon.

”When that fog clears and the inversion lifts,” Esteve said, “then there’s the ability of the air to mix with the smoke and to take away that unhealthy level.”

Deschutes County should see that same pattern on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, with smoke sticking around from the Cedar Creek Fire and then clearing in the afternoons. Linn, Lane and Douglas counties are under an air quality advisory through Friday, as the air quality will not improve much in the afternoons. Rain is expected to move in Friday and dramatically improve the air quality throughout the region. (Jeff Thompson, OPB)

Two Salem residents charged with neglecting 87 cats

Two Salem residents are being charged with animal neglect of 87 cats found at a home in September, according to court records. Three cats have died — one was found dead at the home, one had to be euthanized and a young kitten did not survive. Some cats have already fully recovered and are now available for adoption at both the Salem and Portland Humane Society campuses, spokesperson Laura Klink said. So far, 21 of the cats have been adopted from the Salem campus. (Dejania Oliver, Salem Statesman Journal)

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