Invasive species — Scientists at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport are monitoring the possible spread of plant and animal life carried to the Northwest coast on debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. Docks that washed ashore last summer at Newport’s Agate Beach and in December on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula carried non-native species. Most were scraped off and destroyed. An invasive species specialist at the science center, John Chapman, told The Oregonian many organisms from Japan survived more than a year floating across the Pacific and crashing on the Northwest coast. But whether they will spread is hard to predict.
Tax evasion case — The former owner of a software company accused of trying to evade millions of dollars in taxes has been convicted of five counts of tax evasion, four counts of failure to file a corporate tax return and one count of obstructing tax laws. A federal jury returned that verdict Thursday in the trial of 56-year-old Chester Evans Davis of Oregon City. Davis had told his court-appointed lawyer not to offer a defense, saying he does not recognize the authority of the court. Federal prosecutors presented evidence that Davis’ company had earned millions of dollars in annual revenue. The government says he transferred money from his company to various shell corporations, then purchased more than $5 million in gold.
Steens Mountain power lines — Conservation groups want the U.S. Department of Interior to revoke approval for transmission lines to cross federal land from a wind energy project on Steens Mountain, a popular outdoor recreation area in Eastern Oregon. The Oregon Natural Desert Association and Audubon Society of Portland filed the petition Thursday, saying Columbia Energy Partners LLC has had some setbacks that make the future of the Echanis wind farm uncertain. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has cancelled authority to start work on the transmission lines due to a lawsuit by conservation groups challenging approval of the project, and the company has withdrawn its application to connect to the grid.
— From wire reports