Oregon wildlife officials plan to rewrite laws to prevent coyote killing contests
State officials moved late last week to begin developing new rules aimed at stopping coyote killing contests. It’s estimated that more than 1,000 coyotes have been killed statewide in such contests in the past year, according to the Humane Society. Earlier this year at the Harney County Coyote Classic, roughly 300 coyotes were reportedly killed over a two-day period. Electronic calling devices are often used during contests to attract coyotes with sounds similar to coyote pups in distress. Under state law, coyotes have been classified as predatory animals with no hunting limitations. (OPB Staff)
Salem-Keizer to buy $1.8M airport building for new aviation program
Salem-Keizer Public School’s drone program will receive a major expansion with the district’s recent purchase of a 16,000-square-foot building at Salem Airport. The goal is to use the building, which includes office, classroom, lab and hangar space, to expand the Salem-Keizer Public Schools Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC) drone program into a broader aviation program. A district survey of students shows 43% have a “definite interest” in the program while another 34% said they have some interest. The current drone program is operated out of the CTEC building on Portland Road and is included in the robotics program where they design, build and operate technology. Students can earn a drone pilots license in the program. (Edith Noriega, Salem Statesman Journal)
Portland’s Jewish community prepares to celebrate Hanukkah amid rising antisemitism
With the first night of Hanukkah days away, Jewish religious leaders and educators in Portland are urging a heightened awareness about antisemitism, saying hate directed increasingly at Jewish people and other groups must be confronted head-on. They’re also working to reverse the troubling trends by building solidarity with other religious groups and increasing efforts to educate about Jewish history and antisemitism in schools and other institutions. Last year marked the highest-ever number of documented reports of harassment, vandalism and violence against Jewish people, according to the watchdog group the Anti-Defamation League. There were nearly four times as many antisemitic incidents across the country in 2021 than in 2013, the ADL found. Portland Rabbi Michael Cahana says Hanukkah serves as a reminder of the need for Jews to remain visible. “We’re not going to hide,” he said, “even in the face of rising antisemitism.” (Max Egener/Portland Tribune)
Grazing must end ‘without further delay’ on 22,800 acres in Eastern Oregon
A district court judge has ruled that federal land managers unlawfully failed to shut down cattle grazing on nearly 23,000 acres in Eastern Oregon. The decision means ranchers must immediately stop grazing livestock on the land — which was designated as a “research natural area” under a sage grouse conservation plan. That 2015 plan, enacted during the Obama administration, specifically required those pastures to be closed to livestock, according to the federal judge. The Trump administration reversed course, but that was overturned by a federal court. Environmental groups have argued that the land provides essential habitat for the vulnerable bird species. Ranchers say the restrictions “disrupt established grazing patterns, season rotations and other management strategies.
”The decision means ranchers must immediately stop grazing livestock on the land — which was designated as a “research natural area” under a sage grouse conservation plan. (Mateusz Perkowski/Capital Press)
Decriminalization of drug possession leaves Clark County officers on sidelines
Last year, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that drug possession was no longer a felony under state law. A few months later, the Legislature passed a bill making it a misdemeanor on the third offense. That’s led to Vancouver police officers taking little action in the past year as fentanyl use has taken over the city’s streets, replacing heroin as the most common opioid involved in overdose deaths. It’s also led to frustration by street outreach workers who are doing what they can to help people with substance abuse issues. They want police to do more, but officers say their hands are tied and they don’t like it either.
“Back when (possession) was a felony,” Officer Tyler Chavers said, “you actually got probation, you end up on DOSA or you to go to drug court. There’s all kinds of tools that have just evaporated.” (Kelsey Turner/The Columbian)