WASHINGTON COUNTY — Cold cases in Washington County could thaw out under a new law enforcement partnership.
Earlier this month, Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett swore in Detective Kevin Winfield, who will be assigned to the Washington County District Attorney's Office to re-examine unsolved violent crime cases involving DNA evidence associated with a possible suspect.
The position is funded by a $470,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance that was awarded to the District Attorney's Office last year.
A cold case is defined as a case three or more years old that is not under active investigation.
The District Attorney's Office recently conducted a review of all major cold cases as part of the grant, officials said.
Multiple cases were identified as having the potential to be prosecuted with additional investigation, officials said, adding the cases date back to 1968 and several include DNA evidence.
Additionally, there are potentially hundreds of unsolved sexual assault cases that also contain DNA evidence, according to the District Attorney's Office.
City leaders step in to protect local restaurants
GRESHAM — The city of Gresham stepped in to protect local restaurants after third-party delivery apps failed to adhere to fee caps set during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gresham restaurants that were overcharged credit card processing fees between Nov. 25, 2020, and Jan. 29, 2021, were refunded the entirety of the money they lost, accounting for an average of more than 4% of revenue.
"Gresham's restaurants have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic," said Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall. "While we're thankful for the platforms that allow our residents to continue to support our local businesses through delivery service, it's important to ensure that the fees aren't so onerous that they hurt our restaurants."
Bullying allegations lead to lawsuit
BEAVERTON — A Beaverton student says she was bullied and threatened by another student and that staff and a resource officer at Westview High School did not adequately discipline the bully prior to a publicized attack.
A state lawsuit recently filed against the Beaverton School District and Washington County seeks $400,000 in noneconomic damages, $25,000 to cover medical expenses, and attorney's fees.
After the special needs student received written and oral bullying and threats of violence, the student's mother reported the instances to school staff — including a resource officer — according to the lawsuit. The student who made the threats was "not adequately disciplined for the bullying and threats and was allowed to remain a student at Westview High School," the suit reads.
It also says that the student who wasn't disciplined paid another student to attack the plaintiff, who also identifies as African American.
County leaders discuss funding for public safety
CLACKAMAS COUNTY — Clackamas County Board of Commissioners Chair Tootie Smith has suggested the board of commissioners repeal the county's vehicle registration fee in order to better sell voters on a 12-cent increase in the public safety levy that could be on the ballot this coming May.
"I'm asking this commission to roll back the increase in the vehicle registration fee at the same time because then I believe we can make a case to the public that we are indeed good stewards of your money and that we take our fiduciary duties seriously in providing public safety," Smith said.
Smith's suggestion to her board colleagues Tuesday, Feb. 9 came as Clackamas County Sheriff Angela Brandenburg gave an update on the public safety levy voters first approved back in 2006 and have renewed every five years since. According to Brandenburg, increases in both costs and the number of calls the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office receives year after year will force the department to cut 12 deputy positions if the status quo remains.
According to Brandenburg, the levy brings in about $13 million per year and maintains funding for approximately 18 sheriff's deputies, 10 investigators, 31 jail deputies and a total of 84 jail beds.
Baseball team hops up to higher division
HILLSBORO — It took a couple months for it to become official, but following the Hillsboro Hops' invitation in December to move up to a higher classification of minor league baseball, the team announced that it has accepted and will begin play this year as the Arizona Diamondbacks' High-A farm team.
The professional development license is good for 10 years, extending an already long-running relationship through 2030.
The Hops have been affiliated with the Diamondbacks dating back to when they played as the Yakima Bears, in Yakima, Washington. The Bears became the Diamondbacks' Class-A Short Season affiliate in 2001, and when they moved to Oregon and became the Hillsboro Hops in 2013, they kept their affiliation with the MLB club.
Major League Baseball took direct control of the minor leagues after the 2020 season, in which minor league teams did not play due to the coronavirus pandemic. In December, MLB unveiled a drastic restructuring of the minor leagues, eliminating two levels altogether: Class-A Short Season, in which the Hops played, and Rookie Advanced.
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