Linn County shuts down log yard — A Linn County official has ordered a halt to operations at a log transfer yard east of Albany that was a lumber mill 70 years ago, sat idle for decades and then got busy in October loading timber on rail cars. Residents have complained about noise, the early hours, and hazards for schoolchildren. “It’s my conclusion that this is a heavy industrial use and should not take place in the middle of a rural residential community," said County Planning Director Robert Wheeldon. Trucks hauling logs from private timberland deliver their cargo bound for export to the yard at Crabtree for reloading onto rail cars, The Albany Democrat-Herald reported. The yard east of Albany created about 30 jobs in Linn County and in Rainier, where its operator, Teevin Bros., has headquarters. The Albany & Eastern Railroad disputed Wheeldon’s conclusions, saying the yard can operate as long as an appeal is filed on time in January. “Contrary to the director’s interpretation and the opinion of some of the county commissioners, the Albany & Eastern Railroad believes we are operating within our jurisdiction," railroad spokesman Jared Cornell said. “We believe we have until Jan. 3 to appeal." After community meetings to air concerns about the operation, the railroad, through the Portland law firm Perkins Coie, had asked the county for a code interpretation. The appeal would be heard by the board of commissioners.
Eugene settles with former utility board member — The former Eugene Water & Electric Board Commissioner has accepted $87,000 from the city of Eugene to settle the lawsuit she filed, claiming that police used excessive force in a raid on her home in 2009. The city does not admit any liability as part of the settlement with JoAnn Ernst, nor does it agree with Ernst’s allegations. The predawn raid included the use of percussion grenades, one of which hit one of Ernst’s adult daughters on the head while she lay in her bed. The suit named the city and two officers as defendants. Police believed Ernst’s son was dealing cocaine and heroin from their home. No weapons, heroin or cocaine were found in the Ernst home. Ernst’s son was charged with possession of methamphetamine and sentenced to probation.
Firefighters back off hoarder house — Portland firefighters say they retreated from the interior of a vacant house Thursday morning when they found it was stuffed with the belongings of a hoarder who had lived there. Firefighters said they had to sort through what they called “significant clutter" to get to the fire, which was in the basement, first floor and attic. Given the danger posed by the material and the vacancy, the fire department said it shifted from an offensive strategy inside to a defensive one outside. Firefighters said later in the morning that the blaze was mostly out, nobody had been injured, a cause hadn’t been determined, and a damage estimate was forthcoming.
Umatilla man was shot to death, says DA — Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus says a man found dead Sunday along Highway 730 east of Umatilla was shot to death. The East Oregonian reported authorities are investigating the killing of 32-year-old Luis Jaime Diaz of Umatilla.
Apartment fire injures occupant — A fire early Thursday at a Hillsboro apartment building was extinguished by automatic sprinklers. Hillsboro Fire and Rescue says the person living in the second-floor apartment where the fire started was treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation. Investigators determined the fire was caused by an electric wheelchair. The fire damage was contained to one unit of the Rolling Green Apartments. Six other apartments have water damage.
Woman’s death was homicide, autopsy determines — An autopsy showed that the suspicious death of a 33-year-old woman at her Southwest Portland apartment was a homicide. Detectives are checking with friends and tracing the activities of Jaime Lyn Larson in previous days in hope of finding her killer. Her body was found Christmas night.
— From wire reports