Driving through a protest: Charges dismissed — A judge dismissed criminal charges Monday against an Oregon driver accused of hurting a downtown Portland protester when he slowly drove his car through a crowd standing in the street in the fall. Mark Alan Dickerson, 55, had been charged with two misdemeanors — reckless driving and harassment — for allegedly causing bruises to the side, shin and hands of Arthuray Dudley on Oct. 31 as Dudley protested in the street in front of the Multnomah County Courthouse. Dickerson was scheduled for trial Monday and Tuesday. Dickerson’s defense attorney contended the protesters were the ones violating the law by impeding traffic, protesting without a permit and beating on Dickerson’s car with their hands as Dickerson inched forward. The low-speed collision was caught on the dash camera footage of Dickerson’s car. Dickerson has no history of criminal convictions, according to his court file. According to papers filed by the prosecution, Dickerson could have avoided the entire situation by driving in two other lanes. Dudley, relatives and friends had been protesting grand jury findings of no criminal wrongdoing by officers for fatally shooting Patrick Kimmons on Sept. 30 in a Portland parking lot. Kimmons was Dudley’s brother, according to authorities.
Oregon House approves 10-year ban on fracking — Oregon state representatives voted 42-12 on Monday to prohibit the hydraulic fracturing, which injects high-pressure liquids into underground rock to extract oil and gas, approving a 10-year ban on fracking. The measure goes to the Senate. There are currently no fracking operations in Oregon, but developers say there’s potential for coal-bed methane extraction in the Willamette Valley, which this bill would also block. Environmental advocates say fracking can contaminate groundwater and pose other environmental risks. The Trump administration announced last year it planned to roll back federal regulations on the process, making it easier to frack on public lands. New York, Vermont and Maryland have enacted fracking bans, and Florida and New Mexico are also considering outlawing at least some forms of the practice.