Spanning the State: The ecstacy and the agony, Edition

Carla Axtman

Congratulations, Seattle.

RIP, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Ugh.

And now, let's Span the State!


Last Thursday while out horseback riding, four neighbors in the Molalla area heard faint cries for help. They split up and began to look for the source of the pleas. After roughly an hour of searching, they located a 70 year old local woman who'd been trapped for 18 hours outside in the freezing cold and rain. The woman, who the press hasn't named, had gone outside to put a battery charger on her truck when a gust of wind came through, slammed the hood down on her arm and the hood latched. Her home is a mile away from the nearest neighbor. Except for the injury to her arm, the woman is said to be generally okay. Oh yeah...and she's also a rock climber. 70 years old, people.

The City of Ashland is going to consider taking up the question of gun restrictions within city limits. Specifically, a group called Citizens for a Safe Ashland is proposing that the city ban the carrying of loaded guns in public, including in a vehicles. The group also wants a ban on the carrying of loaded ammunition clips or magazines in public. The city may decide to ask city staff to to gather up information on the issue and may schedule the topic for a future regular meeting. No votes on the matter can take place during the study session(s). The cities of Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Oregon City, Salem and Independence have already banned loaded firearms in public places. A ban is also in effect in Multnomah County.

In November, voters in Columbia County rejected a $9.57 million operating levy that would have funded county jail operations for four years. Local officials say that without additional revenue, the jail will certainly close by June. After having rejected last week the idea of trying again, County Commissioners are saying that if enough public support can be shown for the project, they'll put it on the May ballot. A citizens group calling themselves Columbia County Works Together is also going to attempt a citizen's initiative in support of the jail levy as well.

The McKenzie River may or may not be laced with mercury.The state Department of Environmental Quality has found mercury in the flesh of northern pikeminnow and large-scale sucker fish that were found swimming near the mouth of the McKenzie in the Springfield area. The Eugene Water & Electric Board isn't buying it. They are preparing to argue that the drinking water from the McKenzie is safe because the sampled fish could also have been swimming in the Willamette River, which is already known to contain mercury. So far, the EWEB has not found mercury in any of the water samples they've collected.

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