Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
6:55 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Wash. DNR Postpones Clear-Cuts It Approved Near Oso Landslide

The aftermath of the March 22, 2014 Oso mudslide. The state of Washington has canceled a timber sale near the town so it can assess risks to the public.
Courtesy of King County Sheriff's Office

Washington state officials have postponed selling 250 acres of timber on steep slopes near the town of Oso.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources had scheduled the 188-acre "Riley Rotor" timber sale and the 62-acre "Home Repairs" timber sale for auction this Wednesday, a month and a day after the March 22 landslide that killed at least 39 people in Oso.

The Riley Rotor site is on state land about five miles southwest of the deadly Oso slide. Much of the site is so steep that the DNR had proposed logging it with helicopters.

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Earthfix
3:37 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Ranchers And Tribes' Klamath Agreement Shifts The Hard Work To Congress

A wildlife refuge in the Klamath Basin. Drought conditions can limit the amount of water that reaches refuges like this one.
Flickr

Congress will soon be charged with solving decades of water conflicts in the Klamath Basin – an arid region spanning Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Members of the tribal and ranching communities formally gave their support this month to a pact settling disputes over water rights and access to irrigation water. That was the final hurdle before federal legislation could be written to enact the Klamath Agreements.

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NPR Story
7:08 am
Thu April 17, 2014

WA Lands Commissioner Defends Taking Timber Money Despite Vow

Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark thanks one of the volunteers at the Great Gravel Pack-In at the Capitol State Forest, March 29, 2014.
Credit Flickr Photo/Diana Lofflin, DNR

It's not unusual for elected officials to cozy up to people with money. Yet Washington Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark's relationship with the timber industry he regulates has changed dramatically since the two-term Democrat first ran for the office six years ago.

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Earthfix Northwest Environmental News
2:41 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Oregon GMO Panel Holds First Meeting

Governor John Kitzhaber explains the importance of the panel's work on GMOs.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber convened a panel of regional experts Thursday on issues of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

At Oregon State University's Food Innovations Center in downtown Portland, Kitzhaber spoke on the importance of debating the role of GMOs in the state.

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Earthfix
4:00 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Federal Government Blazes Ahead On Comprehensive Fire Management Plan

Wildfire seasons in many parts of Oregon and the rest of the West are getting hotter and longer.

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:45 pm

A new national strategy for preventing and fighting wildfires has been announced by the federal government in response to increasingly costly firefighting seasons in the West.

Rather than waiting to address wildfires until after they ignite, the new strategy emphasizes restoring forests and rangelands while stabilizing funding.

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NPR Story
8:58 am
Wed April 9, 2014

The Ultimate Reuse: Shipping Containers For Buildings

Starbucks has been rolling out drive-through, walk-up locations made out of recycled shipping containers. This location is in Tukwila, Washington.
Flickr Photo/vmax137 (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The cost of housing in the city is making many people think small, to embrace the micro movement that loves to reuse and recycle. Enter the idea of a shipping container as a building – a natural in a port city like Seattle, which handles 1.6 million container units in a year.

With all that potential lying around Seattle, something had to happen. Worldwide, 450,000 containers are sent to scrap every year. An idea struck Starbucks Coffee designers as they looked out a window of their Sodo headquarters near the Port of Seattle at the containers in the shipping yard.

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Earthfix
5:00 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

State Investigation Finds Violations in Southern Oregon Pesticide Case

Kathyrn Rickard. Rickard says she developed a rash, stomachache and headache. She also says her dogs and cats vomited after the spray.
Amelia Templeton

A helicopter hired to spray herbicides in Curry County last fall allowed chemicals to get onto neighboring properties and violated pesticide laws, according to an Oregon Department of Agriculture investigation announced Tuesday.

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NPR Story
1:00 am
Tue April 8, 2014

The Wetland That Saved Highway 101 From Flooding

A restoration project last year allowed this wetland to flood while an infamous stretch of Highway 101 stayed dry this winter.
Courtesy of North Coast Land Conservancy

Every winter on Oregon's north coast, the Necanicum River spills out over its banks during heavy rains and swallows the road just south of Seaside. This happens at least once -– and up to seven times -- a year.

But not this year.

Last summer, highway officials teamed up with a local landowner to use a nearby wetland as a natural sponge for floodwater. By removing a mile-long wall of dirt, they freed the river to spread out into its natural flood plain. Since then, even when the Necanicum has over-topped its banks, it hasn't sent its waters to flood the highway.

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Earthfix
6:25 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

New Rules For Commercial Composting In Portland: Food Only

Within a year, commercial composting in Portland will be limited to food only.
OPB

A big change is on the way for businesses that compost commercial food waste in Portland.

Metro, the regional government that oversees the city's commercial food waste collection, is changing the rules for what kind of material it accepts at its Portland transfer station.

Within a year, the program will restrict commercial compost collection in Portland to food scraps only. That means businesses will not be able to compost food-related materials such as napkins, plates or compostable plastic utensils. The change does not affect residential curbside food scrap collections.

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Earthfix
5:53 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Investigative Documents Show Pilot Failed To Disclose Herbicides Used On Timberland

Michelle Martin with her horses. Martin is concerned her horses were sickened as a result of herbicide exposure.
Amelia Templeton

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 6:00 pm

UPDATE (Tuesday, April 8):

The Oregon Department of Agriculture confirmed Tuesday its investigation uncovered multiple violations of pesticide law by Pacific Air Research, including that the company allowed pesticides to fall on neighboring properties, according to a news release.

ODA also stated that Pacific Air Research applied an herbicide above the maximum amount allowed by the label and provided false records that misled the state's investigation. Both are violations that could result in civil penalties.

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