Latest Oregon news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. PST
DOJ-CHILD PORN HACKING
Child porn case dropped as DOJ refuses to turn over code
(Information from: The Columbian, http://www.columbian.com)
SEATTLE (AP) — Federal prosecutors have decided to drop child pornography charges against a Washington teacher after the Justice Department refused to disclose information about a software weakness it exploited during an investigation last year.
Charges against Vancouver teacher Jay Michaud in U.S. District Court in Seattle were dropped Monday.
Michaud was arrested in July 2015 and accused of downloading child pornography from a website called Playpen.
People on the website, which was actually operated by the FBI, used a special web browser called Tor to protect their identities, but FBI agents exploited unknown weaknesses in that browser to identify suspects.
A judge in Michaud’s case ordered the FBI to disclose to the defense parts of their hacking process but the government refused.
KGV-TV reports that a school district spokeswoman says Michaud hasn’t returned to work there.
Authorities find missing girl, 11, and her father
WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (AP) — The FBI says an 11-year-old girl and her father have been found in central Oregon after they were missing for about two weeks.
The Oregon FBI said in a news release that an FBI agent and detective from Warm Springs were driving separately on Highway 26 west of Warm Springs Wednesday morning when they saw Kaitlyn Stofiel and her father, Thomas Stofiel, hitchhiking.
The FBI says both were wet, cold and hungry but otherwise appeared physically uninjured.
They were found within a mile of where they left their truck in late February on the Warm Springs Reservation.
The Stofiels told police they spent most of the past two weeks camping a few miles away in an isolated area.
The girl has been placed in protective custody.
No charges have been filed and police say none are expected.
WILDFIRE FUEL BREAKS
Rangeland wildfire fuel breaks planned for Idaho, Oregon
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal authorities have approved a plan to create a fuel break system along 271 miles of roads in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon intended to limit the size of destructive rangeland wildfires and protect habitat for sage grouse.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in a decision announced Wednesday says the fuel breaks will be along existing roads on BLM-managed land in and around a 2015 rangeland wildfire that scorched about 436 square miles.
The area supports cattle grazing and some 350 species of wildlife, including sage grouse. The burned area is now the focus of a 5-year, $67 million rehabilitation effort.
Officials say the work is expected to begin this spring and will include seeding, mowing, chemical treatments and grazing in specific areas to reduce vegetation.
Lawmakers eye Oregon homeowner tax breaks for budget fix
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers are looking to homeowners and the tax breaks they receive as one potential solution to the state’s $1.6 billion budget deficit for the next two years.
Debates are being held in Salem this week on two proposals that would reduce or eliminate the allowable deductions that some homeowners can claim from mortgage interest and property taxes.
The state hasn’t said yet how much extra revenue the proposals could raise, but any additional money would go into the state’s general fund and a separate fund for emergency housing assistance programs.
Proponents say the proposals would only affect the wealthiest homeowners, while conservatives argue that the state’s housing affordability crisis would only get worse.
Lawmakers heard testimony on Tuesday, with the next round of debate scheduled for Thursday.
Oregon skier reported missing at Mt. Hood Meadows
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities are searching for a skier reported missing at Mt. Hood Meadows east of Portland, Oregon.
Sgt. Pete Hughes of the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office says 57-year-old Steve Leavitt of The Dalles was reported missing Tuesday night. He was last seen before noon when his ski pass was scanned on a chair lift.
Hughes says search teams were hampered overnight by high winds, rain and then snow. The search continued Wednesday morning.
BEND POLICE SHOOTING
Bend officers in fatal shooting had good record
(Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com)
BEND, Ore. (AP) — Records show neither of the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of a man who was stopped in central Oregon for driving erratically have a previous history of excessive force.
The Bend Bulletin reported Tuesday the Bend Police Department records show the officers received little criticism or reprimand during their 14 combined years with the force.
Officers Mark Tisher and Scott Schaier were placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the December incident.
Police have said there was an altercation after 31-year-old Michael Tyler Jacques was pulled over.
A Taser was used on Jacques before Schaier shot him multiple times.
An attorney for Jacques’ family has said Jacques was unarmed and still belted in his vehicle when he was killed.
State police have declined to comment or release any details about their investigation.
Oregon woman files suit against Airbnb over discrimination
(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Clackamas County woman has filed a lawsuit against vacation-rental website Airbnb, saying the site facilitates discrimination against black users.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Patricia Harrington has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Airbnb of violating Oregon’s public accommodation laws.
The lawsuit claims that Airbnb’s practice of allowing hosts to review a prospective guest’s full name and photograph before accepting a reservation allows hosts to reject clients based on their race.
An Airbnb spokeswoman said the company strongly opposes bias and discrimination.
Harrington, who is African American, has not used Airbnb, but her attorney says she has the right to use the platform without providing her full name and photo.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction that would allow Harrington and other black users to join the site and access listings without providing photos or full names.
Uber to ban ‘greyball’ tool used to stymie regulators
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber is dismantling a secret weapon it used against local regulators who have been trying to curtail or shut down its ride-hailing service in some cities around the world.
The about-face announced Wednesday comes less than a week after a report published in The New York Times exposed the existence of a technology feature nicknamed “Greyball” that identified regulators posing as riders while trying to collect evidence that Uber’s service was breaking local laws governing taxis.
The program served up a fake version of Uber’s popular app to make it appear the undercover regulators were summoning a car, only to have the ride never show up or canceled.
Uber now says it will ban greyballing undercover regulators, although it may take time to block the program completely.