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State-and-regional
Nominee for judge vacancy under fire for college writings

PORTLAND (AP) — A federal prosecutor nominated to fill a judicial vacancy in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is under fire after opinion pieces he wrote as a college student mocking multiculturalism surfaced.

Liberal judicial advocacy group Alliance for Justice said Ryan Bounds' writings "reveal strong biases that call into question his ability to fairly apply the law and to maintain confidence in the justice system's ability to dispense even-handed justice to all," The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Bounds, who wrote for the student-run newspaper The Stanford Review while attending Stanford University, apologized Friday for his "misguided sentiments."

Bounds, a politically conservative assistant U.S. attorney in Portland who now chairs the Multnomah Bar Association's equity, diversity and inclusion committee, disavowed the pieces in an email he sent to committee members.

Bounds said he wanted to assure the committee "the objectionable words and views recited from three or four of my college op-eds do not reflect the views I have hewn to as a lawyer, and frankly, as a grown-up."

The Alliance for Justice pulled excerpts from Bounds' pieces for The Stanford Review, in which he mocks what he described as "race-think," student ethnic groups and the university's response to alleged sexual assaults.

Bounds also wrote about sexual assault and university punishments of students accused of rape.

The Alliance for Justice cited the excerpts and said Bounds "must be held accountable" for the articles "in which he belittles allegations of campus sexual assault and rape and supports making it more difficult to hold perpetrators of campus sexual assault accountable; derides multiculturalism on campus; mocks student affinity organization, calling their gatherings 'feel-good ethnic hoedowns.'"

Bounds, in his email, said his mindset significantly shifted once he was in the working world.

Bounds, reached Saturday, referred to his email and declined further comment.

In September, the White House nominated Bounds to fill a seat on the 9th Circuit vacated by Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, who assumed senior status in December 2016. An administration official declined comment Saturday.

In a letter to be submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, the vice president of Western Oregon University, an emergency department physician at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and three others from the corporate and medical field — all of whom attended middle school with Bounds — cite their continued support for him. They argue that Bounds has grown since his writings for the alternative conservative college paper, the Stanford Review.


State-and-regional
Lawmakers weigh Willamette wake board study

SALEM (AP) — Prospects for expanding wakeboarding restrictions on a popular section of Oregon's Willamette river appeared to recede Monday.

The proposal would have expanded rules restricting the sport on a particularly popular section of the Willamette River, including a stretch known locally as "the zone," and added penalties. But prior to a packed public hearing on the proposal Monday, the measure's sponsor, Rep. Richard Vial, submitted an amendment that removed the language proposing the toughened restrictions. A study group would be created instead.

Reached after the hearing, the Republican Vial said that after talking to residents he had decided a study group seemed more appropriate. Vial also cited difficulties enforcing current restrictions.

The focus of the controversy is boats specially designed or modified to create large waves, over and off of which towed riders can flip and launch. Some boats are built with hulls molded to shape the water flowing past them into large, curled waves, and a secondary market exists for devices owners can attach to the hulls of their boats to exaggerate the effect.

Area residents and boaters, as well as representatives of companies selling wakeboarding boats and equipment, disagreed Monday over exactly how much effect the wakes have.

Riverfront residents told legislators on the House Transportation Committee that during busy times of year, large wakes make it difficult or dangerous to use their floating docks and erode the shoreline. Wakeboard enthusiasts were skeptical that the sport, which tends to draw the most participants the handful of hot summer weekends every year, amounted to a real burden for home owners or danger to property.

The sport has been the subject of controversy elsewhere. Idaho and Washington have also seen complaints from homeowners in popular boating designations over damage from the wakes and enforce their own boating boundaries.


Local
Bicyclist dies after riding into path of a semi in Curry County

CURRY COUNTY — At approximately 12:20 p.m. Feb. 9, Oregon State Police responded to a motor vehicle crash involving a bicyclist on U.S. Highway 101 near milepost 350, in Curry County just north of Brookings.

The preliminary investigation revealed that the bicyclist had ridden into the path of a 2018 Peterbilt tractor/trailer combination operated by Robert Bailey, 57, of Coos Bay. Cal-Ore Life Flight Helicopter stationed in Brookings responded and flew the victim to Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, where he later died of his injuries.

U.S. Highway 101 was initially closed for approximately one hour. During the investigation and reconstruction, the highway was reduced to one lane.

The Oregon State Police was assisted by Cal-Ore Life Flight and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The identification of the bicyclist has not been determined at this time.


State-and-regional
Hundreds besiege Oregon Capitol for cap on greenhouse gases

SALEM (AP) — Hundreds of protesters converged Monday on the Oregon Capitol to push lawmakers to adopt legislation that would place a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and impose fees on entities that exceed maximum levels.

With the Trump administration having abandoned the Paris climate agreement, several states have emphasized their own efforts to reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. In November, the governors of California, Oregon, and Washington state attended global climate change talks in Bonn, Germany.

Now, a bill in the Oregon Senate and a similar one in the House aim to gradually reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state to levels that are at least 80 percent below 1990 levels. Companies and facilities emitting more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents a year would be required to buy "allowances" every year to cover each ton of their emissions.

The two so-called clean-energy jobs bills, also known as cap and trade, are sponsored by 31 lawmakers, and each contain more than 30 pages. Some lawmakers have said this year's 35-days legislative session is too short to deal with such a complicated issue.

But it took center stage Monday as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Capitol in sunny, chilly weather, carrying signs including ones that said "climate justice." One inflatable sign asked Senate President Peter Courtney to "be a climate hero." The protesters then flocked to offices of legislators, spilling out the doors and into narrow hallways, before attending two committee hearings on the bills.

"There are about 400 to 500 people here today," marveled House Speaker Tina Kotek, one of the bills' sponsors. "I think that shows the people outside the building really want us to make it a priority for the session."

Courtney said before the Legislature convened on Feb. 5 that while he believes there must be laws to restrict greenhouse gas emissions, he expressed doubt that it could be finalized in the short session.

"Just the exemption area is complicated," he said, adding that he didn't want Oregon to copy another state.

Opponents have lined up against the measures, including Oregon Business & Industry.

"Oregon needs to identify the least cost way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rather than create a disincentive for Oregon business to remain in the state and for others to locate here," said Scott Parrish of Oregon Business & Industry, which said it represents 1,600 businesses.

The Craft Brew Alliance, headquartered in Portland and with more than a half-dozen breweries, said global warming has caused drought, wildfires, extreme weather, and rising acid levels in oceans.

"We are not on pace to meet our state's carbon reduction goals through voluntary action so more must be done and the 2018 session is the time," said Craft Brew Alliance's Julia Person in written testimony.