Portland Business News

Downtown Portland task force fundraiser seeks $450K to support work
Author: Jonathan Bach
The group is looking for donations from private and philanthropic donors to support its work.
FTC and 17 states sue Amazon, alleging monopolistic practices
Author: Alex Halverson
The Federal Trade Commission's lawsuit against Amazon has been in the works for years, starting with a probe that was opened in 2019.

Washington State News

NFL Power Rankings, Week 4: Stronger and Stronger at No. 1

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - John Oehser

JACKSONVILLE - Senior writer John Oehser's pre-Week 4 2023 NFL power rankings. And we all know how important these are ...

Rank.Team (record) | Comment

Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) | 1 | Consistent and strong again San Francisco 49ers (3-0) | 2 | So talented, so impressive, so consistent Miami Dolphins (3-0)

U.S. CDC releases data on chronic diseases, related risk factors

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday released data on chronic diseases and related risk factors for the year 2022 in the United States.

CDC data include health-related behaviors, chronic health conditions, healthcare access, and use of preventive services in the fields such as alcohol use, cancer screening, diabetes, heart disease, HIV Testing, me

Rutgers hopes to get back on track vs. Wagner
(Photo credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK) After its first loss of the season came in lopsided fashion, Rutgers will return home with the chance to get right against FCS visitors Wagner on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J. When the programs met for the first time last season, Rutgers won in a rout, 66-7. The Scarlet Knights (3-1) took a lightning-quick lead at No. 2 Michigan last week, scoring a 69-yard catch-and

NYT Politics

Hunter Biden Sues Giuliani for Spreading Information From Laptop
Author: Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman
The president’s son accused Rudolph Giuliani of breaking California law about data privacy by disseminating personal messages from a computer he left at a repair shop in Delaware.

The Chronicle - Centralia

Toddler survives suspected fentanyl overdose in Oregon parking lot

Portland firefighters used naloxone to rescue a 15-month-old girl who appears to have overdosed after possibly putting a piece of opiate-contaminated tin foil in her mouth while in a Safeway parking lot on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard Friday night, officials said Monday.

The child survived after a bystander with medical training found her unresponsive and not breathing and started performing CPR, said Rick Graves, a Portland Fire & Rescue spokesperson.

Graves could not confirm what drug was on the tin foil, but said first responders suspected it was fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

The bystander, whom Graves could not identify, found the child not breathing in the parking garage on Southeast 27th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard shortly before 5:30 p.m. and took her upstairs to begin CPR. Firefighters responded several minutes later, believing the child was experiencing “simple respiratory distress leading to potential cardiac arrest” until the bystander told them he had seen the child spitting up what appeared to be aluminum foil.

The bystander retrieved the small, crumpled piece of foil, which had the “classic fentanyl look,” Graves said. The child started breathing again after a Portland Fire & Rescue paramedic treated her with naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug.

Fire officials notified the Portland Police Bureau after they went to the underground level of the parking garage to investigate and spotted drug paraphernalia inside the child’s parents’ vehicle, Graves said.

Portland police officers arrived at the scene about 5:45 p.m. and searched the car, where they found drugs, foil, drug paraphernalia, scales and torches, said police spokesperson Mike Benner. The child’s parents, whom Benner did not identify, remained at the scene and are cooperating with the investigation. Neither has been arrested, Benner said.

Portland police notified the Oregon Department of Human Services, Benner said.

A 3-year-old and two 1-year-olds overdosed in June after coming in contact with fentanyl in their homes, according to the Police Bureau. The string of overdoses in young children was unprecedented in the city’s recent history, said Capt. Jake Jensen of the bureau’s Specialized Resources Division, which includes the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit.

“Often these pills and powder are brightly colored, which means they can easily be mistaken for candy and accidentally eaten by a young child,” Jensen said that month. “Because children’s bodies are smaller than adults, even the tiniest amount of residue can kill.”

Portland firefighters responded about three months ago to a child who was found unresponsive inside a home on Southeast 134th Street and Foster Boulevard. One of the firefighters was kneeling by the child when they lifted their knee and found a blue fentanyl pill underneath their leg. The child awoke after a firefighter administered naloxone, Graves said.

Friday’s rescue, along with increasing fentanyl overdoses citywide, are taking a toll on Portland firefighters – especially those who have children, Graves said.

“They’re getting crushed, demoralized, saddened and distancing themselves just to protect themselves,” Graves said. “One of the crew members is affected mentally as a result of the stress of the scene because the child reminded them of a child of their own. It’s having an effect on our entire workforce.”

'Ambush' or self defense? Jury hears final arguments in killing of Clark County detective

Whether the killing of a plainclothes detective was a premeditated attack or lawful self-defense is in the hands of a Clark County jury following closing arguments Monday in the murder trial of Guillermo Raya Leon.

Neither side disputes that Raya Leon, 28, fatally shot Clark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jeremy Brown while catching the detective by surprise as he sat in an unmarked SUV about 6:40 p.m. on July 23, 2021.

Brown, 46, was surveilling the Vancouver apartment where Ray Leon, his brother and his brother’s wife were hiding $30,000 worth of stolen firearms and ammunition after eluding police during a pursuit on Interstate 5 earlier that day.

Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik said the evidence of a pre-planned attack was clear: Raya Leon put on a hoodie to disguise his appearance, despite the heat, and selected a .357 revolver from the cache of guns because it had larger caliber bullets and wouldn’t spit out casings that could be used as evidence.

Raya Leon and his two accomplices then abandoned the weaponry trove and fled in an SUV that soon crashed, Golik said. While the two others were captured, Raya Leon managed to burglarize a house, swipe a set of car keys and remained on the run for two more days before his arrest, he said.

“These are not the actions of someone who acted in self defense,” Golik said. “These are the actions of someone who hasn’t given up yet.”

Defense attorney Therese Lavallee said she would not contest many of the charges, including that Raya Leon was trafficking in stolen firearms and stole a car to escape the manhunt.

But she claimed Raya Leon had not planned to kill Brown, and only pulled the trigger because the sergeant fired first. She said it made no sense for someone planning an “ambush” to approach Brown’s driver side door.

“Jeremy Brown was startled — and yes, he was in a horrible, compromised position. And knowing that he drew his weapon. But he never announced, ‘Police, you’re under arrest,’ What he did was rotate his body, stretching his gun outside the window,” Lavallee said.

Raya Leon then fired a single shot, striking Brown in the back and piercing his heart, she said.

While Raya Leon did not take the stand in his own defense, the jury of 11 women and 3 men, including two alternates who will be dismissed prior to deliberations, will weigh a tearful recorded interview entered into evidence, which was taken after Raya Leon’s arrest in Salem, when he was coming down from a drug high and was roused from sleep by detectives.

During the interview, Raya Leon said he didn’t know who fired first. Lavallee called that his “honest answer” at the time, and said the jury could rely on the defense’s expert witnesses who attempted to sequence the order of gunfire.

Golik said there was no scientific way to know who fired first and dismissed the defense’s experts as motivated by their hefty appearance fees.

Raya Leon’s brother, Abran Raya Leon, was convicted and sentenced to 27 years in August. Abran Raya Leon’s wife, Misty Leon, remains in custody pending trial.

Presiding Judge Derek Vanderwood has denied several defense motions for a mistrial, The Columbian newspaper reported, including when prosecutors inadvertently exposed the jury to evidence suggesting Raya Leon was a suspect in a separate attempted murder case.

Thurston County sheriff fires another employee for sexual harassment

The Thurston County Sheriff has fired a corrections deputy for sexual harassment, the department announced Monday afternoon.

This marks the second time since the end of August that the Sheriff has taken such action. A civilian employee was fired Aug. 31 after an internal investigation uncovered years of sexual harassment toward more than one coworker, The Olympian reported.

As for Monday's termination, it followed an investigation that was launched on Aug. 4 after the Sheriff's Office received an internal complaint about sexual harassment in the corrections facility.

The investigation found substantial evidence of sexual harassment, and reports that the behavior was a longstanding issue dating back to at least 2022, according to the Sheriff's Office.

After the corrections deputy was fired, a notice of separation form was completed and sent to the Criminal Training Justice Center for review of the former employee's certification status in the state, according to the news release.

The Sheriff's Office is now set to embark on sexual harassment training this fall after a recent funding request for that training was approved by the Thurston County Commission, per the release.

"Thurston County Sheriff's Office is committed to the elimination, prevention and thorough investigation of sexual harassment to ensure our workplace is safe and inclusive for all," the news release reads.

Inmates allege Washington DOC using faulty drug tests to levy harsh punishments in new lawsuit

Washington Department of Corrections officials have been using shoddy over-the-counter drug tests as grounds for harsh punishments that in some cases significantly delayed inmates' release, a group of inmates argued in a class-action complaint filed Friday.

Clifton Bell was incarcerated at Airway Heights Corrections Center when his cell was searched and officers found a scrap piece of paper, which they tested for synthetic cannabinoids known as Spice.

They used a DetectaChem mobile test kit, which DOC said returned a "presumptive positive."

Presumptive drug tests are often used as initial screens to identify if a drug is present. Most medical professionals will use a presumptive test as a screen because they are inexpensive but less accurate than a definitive test, which is required to confirm the presence of a drug.

These over-the-counter tests are known to be extremely inaccurate and are not allowed to be used for punishment in some states. Massachusetts outlawed the testing in its prison systems in 2021 as a result of a similar lawsuit, noting there's around a 38% false positive rate, which is "less accurate than witchcraft, phrenology, or simply picking a number out of a hat," according to the lawsuit.

The manufacturers of these types of tests are clear that they require confirmatory testing to be valid, argued Columbia Legal Services, the law firm bringing the complaint.

"DOC's actions are unjust and unconstitutional," said Alison Bilow, the team lead on the case for Columbia Legal Services. "DOC's repeated and prolonged use of solitary confinement before and after any infraction hearings is inhumane. Prolonged solitary confinement is internationally recognized as a form of torture. DOC must be required to stop its use of these cheap tests to unfairly punish people, especially with its barbaric use of solitary confinement."

The Department of Corrections declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The same day Bell's cell was searched, he was placed in administrative segregation, a term used for solitary confinement. He was later issued an infraction and sanctioned 180 days without visitation, phone use, written correspondence or electronic communication, recreation and commissary access. He also lost 75 days of good conduct time.

When Bell appealed his infraction, he was denied confirmatory testing from a lab. He also complained that he had been unable to contact his attorney or the Office of Corrections Ombudsman because of his total loss of communication privileges.

His infraction was upheld. In the decision, Bell was told he did not have the right to outside lab testing.

A month after the first infraction, Bell was sent three greeting cards by a loved one. She used the company Moonpig to send the cards and never had contact with them herself.

When the cards arrived, staff used a different presumptive test, which came back positive, though neither the sender nor Bell  had contact with the cards.

Bell was issued another infraction.

The sender complained to various DOC officials, showing evidence that they had never had contact with the cards. Officials eventually agreed to send them out for lab testing.

Those results showed no illegal substances were present. Despite the testing being done, the records were never placed in his DOC file.

His infraction was cleared, but by that point Bell had spent about four months in solitary confinement, according to the complaint.

The infractions led to Bell being reclassified and moved to Clallam Bay Corrections Center, a more restrictive facility.

Another plaintiff in the cases, Matthew Ross, had a box of paperwork confiscated from his cell about a month ago.

DOC swabbed two pieces of paper from the box, which came back "possibly" positive for Spice. Those papers were Ross's childhood immunization records and high school transcript sent by his mother a year earlier.

Ross received an infraction that could have extended his time in prison by more than two months. When Ross' attorneys complained to DOC about the issue on Sept. 6, the department released Ross from prison with little notice.

The group of inmates is asking DOC to stop the practice of issuing infractions based solely on presumptive positive tests, to remove existing infractions, and for damages.