Oregon employers warn that the state has run out of workers who can pass a drug test

Oregon state economists Mark McMullen and Josh Lehner say that employers have told them that they can't fill vacancies because every qualified candidate fails their drug test, which is sometimes mandated by the companies' insurers. Read the rest

Amazon has been quietly selling its facial recognition system to US police forces, marketing it for bodycam use

Amazon bills its Rekognition image classification system as a "deep learning-based image and video analysis" system; it markets the system to US police forces for use in analyzing security camera footage, including feeds from police officers' bodycams. Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica campaigned for Republicans across America in 2014

2016 wasn't Cambridge Analytica's first rodeo; in 2014, they worked for Republicans in races across the country. Read the rest

Cougar visiting Oregon hotel drugged, then killed

A cougar (Puma Concolor) decided to go wandering about a hotel in The Dalles, Oregon. Cougars populate the woods around this suburb of Portland, but they rarely frequent the shops, restaurants or other services. This odd behavior resulted in the termination of said animal.

It is cool to pump your own gas in some parts of Oregon now.

Via KVAL Oregon:

Cougar sightings are not uncommon on the outskirts of The Dalles, especially in the late winter and early spring when deer are on winter range just outside the city, according to wildlife officials.

“But a cougar coming this far into downtown, into the business district and deep into a hotel complex, and not showing fear of people or wariness of urban environments? That’s just extremely odd,” said Jeremy Thompson, ODFW district wildlife biologist. “This may have been a cougar that was unable to establish its own home range in its natural habitat.”

“Considering this cougar’s concerning behavior, it was deemed a public safety risk not suitable for relocation, and so it was euthanized,” said Thompson.

Image via Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Read the rest

A playable version of Oregon Trail to promote Oregon tourism

The semi-independent Oregon Tourism Commission has created a playable version of the classic Apple ][-era adventure game Oregon Trail to promote Oregon tourism. Read the rest

Portland police stage bizarre sensory deprivation stunt against ICE protesters

Protesters against ICE's campaign of mass deportations were treated to a bizarre public stunt by Portland, OR police, who put them in isolation hoods and sound-muffling ear-protectors reminiscent of the treatment described by Gitmo prisoners and other survivors of US torture. The police were attempting separate the protesters from the bonds they used to stick themselves together and the measures were nominally taken to protect the protesters' hearing and vision from police power-tools. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Oregon cops issue "verbal warning" to armed cat in a tree

After receiving a report of a cat in a tree holding an assault rifle, the Newport Oregon Police Department attended the scene, and, after ascertaining that the gun was actually a stick, they issued a "verbal warning" to the offending cat. Read the rest

Oregonians to vote on whether to end constitutional ban on duels between public officials

Move over, Florida! Oregon may supplant you as America's best source of mesmerizingly bizarre violent confrontations, if voters there overturn a constitutional ban on duels.

Should ongoing discussions in Salem materialize, voters would see a question on their general-election ballots asking if a 172-year-old ban on dueling by public officials — as in, the old-fashioned way of resolving fights — should be erased from the Oregon Constitution. The constitutional ban in question is Article II, Section 9, which says anyone who offers, accepts, knowingly participates in a “challenge to fight a duel … or who shall agree to go out of the State to fight a duel, shall be ineligible to any office of trust, or profit.” (this is exact language from the constitution) ...

Democratic Sen. Ginny Burdick, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, kicked off the discussion by jokingly calling it “the bill I’ve been waiting all session for.”

This wouldn't make consensual homicide legal, but it might make it fun. Read the rest

Watch a 200-ton boulder get blowed up real good

Heavy rains on the west coast have caused rockslides like this behemoth blocking an Oregon highway south of Eugene. Oregon DOT set up a camera as they blasted it into manageable chunks.

Spoiler: it went way better than Oregon's exploding whale...

PS: here's the "blowed up real good" reference if you're scratching your head.

200-ton rock blown up on Oregon highway (The Oregonian) Read the rest

Oregon forms joint task force to apprehend Piggy Smalls

A wild hog, known to local Forest Grove, Oregon law enforcement as "Piggy Smalls" has been apprehended.

Via Oregon Live:

On Friday, the Forest Grove Police Department announced on Facebook they had finally apprehended a troublesome potbelly pig.

According to the post, the pig, known as "Piggy Smalls" (alias "Notorious") had "allegedly been harassing residents in the Hawthorne neighborhood of Forest Grove over the last several months."

He was ultimately captured at a little before 1 p.m. "by a joint task force of the FGPD Code Enforcement Officer and a representative of Home Sweet Home Properties."

Read the rest

Anti-burglary advice, from burglars

KGW Portland surveyed 86 Oregon inmates serving time for burglary to see what they looked for when casing a house that is safe to break into and likely to contain valuables. One important lesson: "NRA sticker on car bumper = Lots of guns to steal." Read the rest

Ammon Bundy and 6 followers found not guilty of conspiracy in Malheur Oregon Wildlife Refuge takeover

Brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five followers charged over a 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur federal wildlife sanctuary in Oregon last January were today acquitted of federal conspiracy and weapons charges. Read the rest

RIP, science fiction author MK Wren

MK Wren was the pen-name of Martha Kay Renfroe, whose novels we featured in 2014. Martha died at age 78 last August, but I've only just found out. She was 78. Read the rest

Douglas County, OR using dirty ballot tricks to finish off the slow murder of its libraries

For years, the Douglas County commissioners have reduced the budget of the county's 11 libraries, serving 100,000 residents, and they've vowed to zero out its budget next year, so the library's supporters got a ballot initiative to create a Special Library District that would keep the doors open -- naturally, the county has removed all mention of the initiative from its website, using dirty tricks to finish off its dirty work. Read the rest

Video explores a pristine slot canyon in the Cascades

"What would a secret and remarkably pristine slot canyon hidden in the wilderness of the Oregon Cascades have to say to those who first step foot into its halls?" This serene video imagines those words of wisdom. Read the rest

As Sanders sweeps West Virginia, a triumphant stump speech in Oregon

As politicians work the campaign trail, one of two things happens: either the stump speech becomes rote and robotic; or it turns into a full-blown, riveting performance. Read the rest

It's too late to do anything about sudden oak death, which has already killed 1,000,000 trees

Phytophthora ramorum is a mold, related to the Irish Potato Famine pathogen, that causes some oak and tanoak trees to split open and bleed out all their sap, something called "sudden oak death." Read the rest

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