The Morning Press: Panhandling, Rose Garden, road work, dogs



Looking south on Northeast 138th Avenue from Northeast 36th Street, crews continue working on what will be one of the city's last large road projects in the foreseeable future, as there's no money for capital improvement projects beyond the 2014-15 biennium.

This week’s top stories and news you may have missed:

Felida woman strives to raise awareness about panhandlers’ use of handouts

Teri Joy first noticed Heather’s bulging belly as she drove under the Interstate 5 overpass on Northeast 99th Street in Hazel Dell. Eight months’ pregnant, she held a small cardboard sign at the side of the roadway, asking for some charity. In the corner of the overpass sat Heather’s boyfriend, Steven Joy — Teri’s stepson.

Anguish punched Teri in the gut.

“You want to cry, but you can’t because you’re so mad. You want to shake him, but at the same time hold him and hug him,” she said in an interview.

As she drove home, hauling her Costco groceries, she thought back to an idea that had idled in her mind for months.

What if she made her own sign? What would she say?

At her home in Felida, she unloaded the groceries and flipped over one of the cardboard boxes. She stared at its blank, white canvas before printing a message: “Please stop giving my kids money for heroin.”

Read the full story here.

Rose Garden renamed Moda Center at the Rose Quarter

The Portland Trail Blazers announced an agreement Tuesday with a regional health and dental plan provider to change the name of the Rose Garden arena to the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter.

Moda Health, an Oregon-based company that also provides plans in Washington and Alaska, finalized a 10-year arena naming rights deal with the Blazers on Monday. Comcast Sportsnet Northwest reported that the price was “up to $4 million annually,” but neither the team nor Moda Health would confirm that number.

During a joint press conference held at the center’s south atrium, team president Chris McGowan and Moda Health president Dr. William Johnson hailed the agreement as a first step in developing the home of the Blazers into an entertainment epicenter of Portland.

“We’re going to put a lot of time and energy into livening up the Rose Quarter,” McGowan said, “and making it the cultural hub that it should be for arts and entertainment in this region.”

Read the full story here.

Executive discusses oil-terminal plan, says safety a top priority

A representative of the joint venture to build the biggest oil terminal in the Pacific Northwest at the Port of Vancouver said Wednesday his team expects to file the construction permit application to a state regulatory body by the end of this month.

Kelly Flint, senior vice president and general counsel for Savage Companies, made that and other remarks during a luncheon presentation to the Rotary Club of Vancouver at the Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay.

Savage and Tesoro Corp. want to handle as much as 380,000 barrels of crude oil per day, hauled by train from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota, where oil is extracted by hydraulic fracturing. Port commissioners on July 23 approved leasing 42 acres to the companies, despite public testimony overwhelmingly against the oil-handling plan.

The Tesoro-Savage proposal now must undergo an examination by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, which would make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say.

Read the full story here.

Vancouver can’t afford to tend streets

If you’re unhappy with the city’s improvements on Northeast 137th/138th Avenue from Northeast 28th to 49th streets, take heart: The city doesn’t have any money to continue the project from 49th Street north to Fourth Plain Road.

The city also doesn’t have money for four other high-priority capital improvement projects:

• Northeast 18th Street from Four Seasons Lane to Northeast 137th Avenue.

• Southeast First Street from Southeast 164th to 192nd avenues.

• Northeast 18th Street from Northeast 107th to 97th/98th avenues.

• Jefferson Street/Kauffman Avenue between Evergreen and W. Fourth Plain boulevards.

All together, the five projects would cost $46.1 million.

The Vancouver City Council was presented with a grim confirmation Monday of what it knew, that it is millions of dollars short on its goals of reconstructing streets, including ones that were built to a rural standard (such as Southeast First Street) and can’t handle urban traffic.

Read the full story here.

Stevenson man pleads not guilty to blowing up dog

A Stevenson man accused of blowing up his dog pleaded not guilty Thursday morning in Skamania County Superior Court.

Christopher Wayne Dillingham, 45, was charged with possessing an explosive device with intent to use for an unlawful purpose, first-degree animal cruelty, two counts of reckless endangerment and a fireworks violation.

Dillingham faces three to four years in prison for the felony charges, said Prosecuting Attorney Adam Kick. Dillingham does not have any past felony offenses on his record, he added.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Dillingham blew up his dog, a yellow lab named Cabela, at his house in Stevenson with an explosive he made using black powder around 4 a.m. Aug. 4. He wrapped the explosive around the dog and distracted it with dog treats.

Later that morning, when sheriff’s deputies approached the house, they could hear things being thrown from a window onto the lawn. While being arrested, he told the deputies that he was preparing for “the rapture” and that the world would end due to a nuclear strike. He said the soul of demons had been placed in the metal belongings in his house.

Read the full story here.

A happy ending for ‘Hashi’: Abandoned, hobbled puppy finds new home

A shaking plastic storage bin abandoned outside the Humane Society for Southwest Washington’s thrift store held a heartbreaking surprise.

In April, a Humane Society volunteer noticed a car drop off the box at the donation trailer by the ReTails Thrift Store, 3308 N.E. 52nd St. Looking inside, the helper found an 8-pound Chihuahua — wide-eyed and a bundle of energy, but clearly in pain.

The puppy’s front legs were broken.

An exam the next day gave bad news, the dog’s limbs were fractured in multiple places, presumably from being hit by a car or falling from a high height.

Shelter staff named the spirited dog Hashi, Japanese for “chopsticks,” because of the braces used to support her hobbled legs.

The nonprofit takes in about 10,000 animals a year and relies on adoptions to make room for a steady stream of strays and abandoned pets. With costs always a concern, many seriously injured animals are euthanized when the shelter is unable to pay for their recovery.

But this story has a happy ending.

Read the full story here.