Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Oregon's salmon license plate gets a new look

July 19, 2021 at 4:12pm

Teens urge Brown to veto transportation package over climate concerns

Paxton Rothwell speaks as teenagers with Sunrise PDX rally outside Mahonia Hall, home of Gov. Kate Brown, on July 15, 2021 to urge action to cut the state's carbon emissions. (Courtesy/Sunrise PDX)

A few dozen Oregon teenagers rallied outside Gov. Kate Brown's mansion in Salem on Thursday urging a veto of proposed transportation spending and other actions to cut the state's carbon emissions.

The group of about 30 was organized by Sunrise PDX, a chapter of the nationwide youth climate group Sunrise Movement.

According to a news release, the teens took the train from Portland to Salem. Joining them in Salem were activists with local groups including 350 Salem, the Interfaith Network and the Salem Democratic Socialists of America.

They urged Brown to veto HB 3055, the state's omnibus transportation bill for 2021, which they criticized for including funds for several projects to add freeway capacity in the Portland Metro area.

In a statement, the group said the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave shows the need for serious steps to cut the state's carbon emissions. The heat wave killed over 100 Oregonians, including more than a dozen deaths in the Salem area, according to preliminary medical examiner reports.

“We, the youth of Sunrise Movement PDX are demanding not only a livable future, but a livable present as well,” said Josh Spector, an organizer with Sunrise PDX, in a prepared statement.

-Rachel Alexander

July 19, 2021 at 12:36pm

Man accused of planning fatal Salem shooting dies while jailed

A 23-year-old man accused of planning a fatal shooting in Salem died after a "medical emergency" at the Marion County Jail, the Sheriff's Office said Sunday.

Frederic Gregory Fergusen, 23, had a medical emergency the evening of July 16 at the jail, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Office. The release did not specify the nature of the emergency and Sgt. Jeremy Landers, Sheriff's Office spokesman, declined to provide further details Monday, saying the death is under investigation.

Fergusen died at Salem Hospital after deputies and emergency medical technicians were unable to save his life, the release said.

Fergusen was jailed Jan. 23, Landers said. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and solicitation to commit second-degree murder in the Jan. 16 shooting death of Joshua Steward, 24, according to court documents.

Steward was found dead in the driver's seat of his car after crashing into a tree near Hoover Park in northeast Salem. After investigating his death, Salem police said Steward had been shot at the park, causing him to crash his car nearby.

An information sheet filed in the criminal case says Fergusen solicited someone else to carry out the shooting. Gerardo Trujillo-Torres, 16, was charged with Steward's murder, The Oregonian reported. Ferguson also faced criminal charges of cocaine distribution and possession, and money laundering, court records show.

Fergusen's death is being investigated by the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the release said.

-Rachel Alexander

July 19, 2021 at 11:32am

Oregon salmon license plate gets new look

A mockup of Oregon's new salmon license plate, which will be available starting Sept. 1, 2021.

Fish lovers and conservation enthusiasts can get a fresh design on an iconic Oregon license plate starting in September.

Oregon's salmon license plate, first introduced in 1998, benefits the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Motorists pay a $30 surcharge to get the plate and an additional $30 at renewal. Funds support salmon habitat restoration projects around the state.

The classic plate design showed a salmon on a white background with sea green trim above and below. The new design was created by Gretchen Kirchner, an amateur artist and former graphic designer for the watershed board.

New plates will become available Sept. 1. The state is also holding an auction starting July 20 for Oregonians who want a low-numbered plate. Bidding will close on July 30.

For more information about the auction and new plate design, visit the salmon plate website.

-Rachel Alexander