As the State Turns

stateturnssymbolShake, Rattle, and Roll
A recent volley of microearthquakes on Mount Hood have Oregon state geologists abuzz. With the first of these recorded in the area of Government Camp on March 23, a total of 31 quakes have now been detected—the largest of which had a magnitude of 2.3. Although initially this may seem like a cause for alarm, geologists say that this is just a reminder that the area is active, and not a sign that something larger is coming as a result. Regardless, watchful eyes will continue to see how the situation develops.

Oregon: The Toxic Avenger?
In 2012, nearly 30 million pounds of toxic substances were released into Oregon’s air, land, and water. According to an annual Toxic Release Inventory report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this lands us ranked at 35th in the nation in terms of total toxic chemicals being released into the environment. Two Oregon companies, Chemical Waste Management of the Northwest and Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, rank amount the worst polluters, sitting at 24th and 87th respectively.

Businesses that release any kind of toxic chemicals are required to report to the EPA, although the inventory produced by the EPA does not quantify human exposure to the toxins in health terms. This certainly doesn’t look so good for a state that prides itself on being environmentally conscious, but the industries doing the polluting are key to Oregon’s economy, so one would not want to hold their breath waiting on reductions.

Do You Smell a Lawsuit?
One Philip Scott Cannon was sent to prison in 2000 in relation to the shooting dearth of three people just west of Salem. In 2009, his conviction was overturned due to the determination that some key evidence was invalid, and Cannon was set free after a total of more than 11 years behind bars. What’s next? Disneyland? No, silly. A lawsuit.

Filing a notice in February of 2010, Cannon made it clear that he was pursuing a civil case against a handful of would-be defendants including the Oregon State Police, Public Defense Services, the state Department of Justice, and more. This all sounds simple enough; however, some defendants jumped on the fact that the filing occurred near the 180-day period Cannon had to file within based on some dubious interpretation of the law. Let me interpret: “Well, if the deadline is in 10 days… the *actual* deadline is in seven days, because it takes three days for the clerk’s office to process the paperwork.”

Unfortunately for them, the appellate court wasn’t really into fiddling around with technicalities and ruled in favor of allowing Cannon’s suit to proceed.

By Johnny Beaver

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