Weekday Wrap: A huge Vancouver fentanyl bust, a grocery merger, a grant for internet in Umatilla and a friendly airport cat

Vancouver men charged in federal fentanyl investigation

Two Vancouver men were charged with federal crimes for allegedly running a drug trafficking ring responsible for making and distributing millions of thousands of counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl. Both men, Joshua Clay Wilfong and James Hunn Jr., were arrested Wednesday. A release from the US Attorney’s Office says the pair regularly sold millions of thousands of fentanyl pills in single transactions and sold an average of 10,000 pills per week. (Jessica Prokop, The Columbian)

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Oregon union workers’ protections would remain after grocery merger

Two of the largest US grocery store corporations plan to merge. Kroger on Friday bid $20 billion for Albertsons. Kroger owns northwest grocery chains Fred Meyer and QFC, and Albertsons owns both Alberston’s and Safeway grocery stores. United Food and Commercial Worker Local 55, a union representing grocery workers in Oregon, said unionized workers are protected. “Regardless of what happens with the merger, which can take a very long time, our member’s contracts will remain in place, with their wages, health coverage, and retirement secured,” union spokesperson Miles Eshia said in a statement. Together the companies employ around 710,000 people. The Associated Press reported some grocery workers expressed concern about the plan, which would inevitably bring store closures. (OPB Staff)

Jackson County assessor addresses departmental faults outlined in state review

After a review from the Oregon Department of Revenue revealed low staffing levels and staff turnover that lead to a series of errors, the Jackson County Assessor’s Office will be updating policies and procedures. The errors include inaccurate estimates of property values ​​in the county, inadequate staff training and a lack of property site visits. The item expected to take the longest to remedy is the completion of residential land revaluation throughout the county. The office will start with revaluations in the Medford area. (Roman Battaglia, Jefferson Public Radio)

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$15.5M grant boosts high-speed internet on Umatilla Indian Reservation

The Confederate Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation secured more than $15.5 million for expanded high-speed internet deployment and digital skills training to improve access to education, jobs and health care on tribal lands. The funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. (John Tillman, East Oregonian)

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There’s a friendly little cat at the airport in Pendleton

A friendly tortoiseshell tabby cat has become a fixture at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport. Every day, the little airport cat waits for the Boutique Air Pilatus PC-12 plane to do its route between Portland International Airport to Pendleton. Pilot Omar Reynoso, who has piloted that flight for about or year or so, said the little cat waits for the plane and comes running to greet them every evening. (Charly Hotchkiss, East Oregonian)

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White letters on a light blue background read, “OPB Weekday Wrap.”

Staff / OPB

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