East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, January 19, 2018, Page Page 8A, Image 19

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OFF PAGE ONE
East Oregonian
Friday, January 19, 2018
Governors ask Trump, Congress to do more on opioid crisis
By GEOFF MULVIHILL
Associated Press
CHERRY HILL, N.J. —
Less than three months after
President Donald Trump
declared the U.S. opioid crisis
a public health emergency,
the nation’s governors are
calling on his administration
and Congress to provide
more money and coordina-
tion for the fight against the
drugs, which are killing more
than 90 Americans a day.
The list of more than two
dozen
recommendations
made Thursday by the
National Governors Associ-
ation is the first coordinated,
bipartisan response from
the nation’s governors since
Trump’s October declaration.
The governors praised him
for taking a first step, which
included a pledge to support
states’ efforts to pay for drug
treatment through Medicaid,
the joint federal-state health
insurance
program
for
low-income people. But the
governors also called for
more action.
“While progress has been
made, the consequences of
opioid addiction continue
reverberating
throughout
society,” the governors said
in their recommendations,
“devastating families and
overwhelming health care
providers, law enforcement
and social services ...”
They said the crisis
was beginning to erode
the nation’s workforce and
undermine
companies’
ability to hire.
Trump’s
emergency
declaration came in response
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File
In this Sept. 7 file photo, Massachusetts Governor
Charlie Baker speaks at the Senate Health, Education,
Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss
ways to stabilize health insurance markets , on Capitol
Hill in Washington.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File
In this Nov. 8 file photo, Steph Gaspar, a volunteer outreach worker with The Hand
Up Project, an addiction and homeless advocacy group, holds a used and blood-
filled needle used for drug injection that she found while cleaning up a homeless
encampment in Everett, Wash.
to recommendations from a
commission he appointed to
address the toll of opioids,
a class of drugs that ranges
from prescription painkillers
to illegal drugs such as
heroin and illicit fentanyl. It
was chaired by former New
Jersey Gov. Chris Christie,
a Republican who left office
this week.
The governors’ recom-
mendations come after a
federal judge in Cleveland
pushed for a settlement in
a series of lawsuits filed by
state and local governments
against the pharmaceutical
industry.
“The opioid and heroin
epidemic knows no bound-
aries, and governors across
the country are keenly aware
of the challenges it poses
for our communities and the
growing need for compre-
hensive, bipartisan solutions
to help end the epidemic,”
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie
Baker, a Republican who
serves as chairman of the
governors’ association health
committee, said in a state-
ment.
A spokesman for the
White House Office on
National Drug Control Policy
said the administration is
committed to working with
states and addressing their
recommendations. The office
said Trump has called for
a coordinated approach to
reduce overdose deaths.
The governors are asking
for a requirement that
drug prescribers undergo
substance abuse training and
register to use state databases
that monitor prescriptions
of dangerous drugs. They
also seek increased access to
naloxone, a drug that reverses
overdoses, and asked that
Medicare cover methadone
treatment for senior citizens.
They said the federal
government needs to do
more to block illicit versions
of synthetic drugs such as
“The opioid and heroin epidemic knows
no boundaries, and governors across
the country are keenly aware of the
challenges it poses for our communities.”
— Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts
fentanyl from being shipped
into the U.S. Last year,
the Department of Justice
issued indictments of two
Chinese companies accused
of sending fentanyl illegally
into the U.S., one of several
anti-opioid moves by the
federal government.
The governors took a
conciliatory tone in their
document,
calling
for
state-federal
partnerships.
That contrasts with a harsher
rebuke on Wednesday from a
group of 10 Democratic U.S.
senators who said Trump was
leaving open key adminis-
trative positions in agencies
tasked with dealing with the
opioid crisis.
The senators took aim
at the appointment of a
24-year-old former Trump
campaign worker, Taylor
Weyeneth, as deputy chief
of staff at the Office of
National Drug Control
Policy. The Washington Post
reported this week that after
the newspaper began asking
questions about Weyeneth’s
rise, he was reassigned to
a lower-ranking job. There
remains no permanent
director at the office.
ARREST: Between 15 and 20 law
enforcement officials joined the search
Continued from 1A
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Businesses on the third floor of the Bowman Building have already moved, or are in
the process of moving to make way for residential apartments.
HOUSING: 2017 permits set a ten-year high
Continued from 1A
a playground and fitness
center.
Brusselback said the
rental prices aren’t final-
ized, but they’re currently
considering charging $1,450
per month. Contractors are
already preparing the site
for construction, and Brus-
selback is aiming to have
the duplexes finished by late
summer or early fall.
The duplexes aren’t the
only housing project under
development in what’s
shaping up to be a banner
year for homebuilding.
Bowman Building
A former Pendleton city
councilor himself, developer
Al Plute returned to council
chambers Tuesday with a
proposition.
Having already renovated
the St. George Plaza and the
Brown Building apartment
complexes, Plute told the
council that he was now
focused on adding new
apartments at a third down-
town property: the Bowman
Building.
A three-story building on
the corner of Frazer Avenue
and South Main Street, Plute
said he has mostly used the
building for office space
since he bought it in 2008.
During that time, he said it’s
been 100 percent occupied
only once, and that period
lasted about three weeks.
He was inspired to
make the change when he
was showing an office to a
prospective tenant who told
him the spaces were pretty
enough to live in.
Plute said he’s ready to
convert the third floor into
16 studio apartments and
two one-bedroom units while
the second floor will remain
office space. The apartments
will range between 267 and
520 square feet and either
cost $650 or $725 per month.
He anticipated the units
will appeal to college
students, personnel testing
unmanned aerial systems on
extended stays in Pendleton
and people living on social
security, and expects them to
be rented before the project is
completed.
Plute
estimated
the
Bowman renovation project
would cost between $800,000
and $1 million. Through
the Pendleton Development
Commission’s various grant
programs, Plute said he
wanted to request between
$300,000-$400,000 from the
commission next month.
“This project is a tough
project,” he said. “Nobody
in the downtown is putting in
second story development.”
If Plute can get the
funding together, he wants
to start construction in April
with the goal of finishing in
September.
The Bowman isn’t the
only property he plans to
reconfigure. He told the
council he also wants to add
six ground-level apartment
units to the St. George.
Big picture
2017 was shaping up
to be another slow year
for housing permit activity
before a last-minute flurry set
a ten-year high.
Through
November,
the city issued 26 building
permits for single family,
multi-family and manufac-
tured homes, right in line
with the yearly average.
But Brusselback’s duplexes
and three additional houses
pushed that number to 55.
While the Pendleton City
Council has a goal of seeing
50 or more dwellings built
per year, Mayor John Turner
said he wanted to wait until
the houses planned in 2017
are finished before chalking
up a victory.
But he did find it encour-
aging that a developer cited
the city’s housing study
when considering home
construction. Turner, who led
the committees who oversaw
the housing studies in 2011
and 2016 and chairs the city’s
current housing committee,
said the city didn’t market
itself or provide housing data
to potential developers before
the studies were created.
While the 28th Drive
duplexes might cost more
than a mortgage payment for
a similar-sized single-family
home, Turner said it would
allow some residents to move
out of substandard housing.
Turner has mentioned new
additions to the Pendleton
Heights and Sunridge Estates
subdivisions as other devel-
opments that could further
boost housing numbers.
To alleviate Pendleton’s
“screaming
need”
for
housing, Turner has a few
other initiatives he would
like to see explored in the
future.
The housing committee
has been looking at creating
a revolving loan fund, Turner
said, which would provide
a bridge between private
financing and project cost.
The mayor also wants
something
done
about
“zombie
properties,”
blighted homes that have
undergone foreclosure and
are unoccupied for extended
periods of time.
Lastly, Turner wants
Pendleton to land a large-
scale development. He
pointed to large tracts of land
available above North Hill
and between Interstate 84
and the city’s water filtration
plant as potential develop-
ment candidates.
———
Contact Antonio Sierra at
asierra@eastoregonian.com
or 541-966-0836.
Phillips and put him in the
back seat of the patrol car,
but released Morris. He
then requested a tow truck
to impound the Explorer.
Daugherty stayed in
the front of his patrol car
until the tow truck arrived,
then got out to speak to the
driver but left his patrol
vehicle running for warmth.
According to a press
release from the sheriff’s
department, Phillips moved
his cuffed hands and arms
from behind his back to
the front, then broke the
rear window of the patrol
car. Crawling out of the
back window and into the
driver’s seat, he drove away,
crashing the vehicle into a
small canal nearby at the
corner of Tabor and Punkin
Center roads.
The patrol vehicle was
damaged, but all police
equipment was recovered.
It was towed away shortly
after.
But when police arrived
Phillips was gone and the
search began.
Beginning at 10:40 a.m.,
more than a dozen officers
from seven local agencies
combed the area, knocking
on doors and looking for
Phillips. The sheriff’s
department search and
rescue team brought out its
drone and the U.S. Forest
Service brought its K-9 unit.
At 1:15 p.m., residents
on Cowboy Lane near Diag-
onal called to say someone
was pounding on doors in
the area. Deputies found
Phillips, now uncuffed, and
after a foot chase arrested
him near the Short Stop gas
Staff photo by Jayati Ramakrishnan
Law enforcement officers were searching for a man
who stole a sheriff’s patrol car, then crashed it and
ran from the scene near Tabor and Dallas roads. The
man was arrested around 1:20 p.m. Thursday.
“Depending on what we learn, in his
trajectory from the crash to where
we apprehended him, he may have
committed other crimes.”
— Jim Littlefield, Umatilla County Undersheriff
station at 32553 E. Punkin
Center Road.
Umatilla County Under-
sheriff Jim Littlefield said he
did not know the exact route
Phillips took from where he
had crashed to where he was
arrested or how many doors
Phillips knocked on, but said
none of the residents opened
the doors or interacted with
Phillips.
Littlefield said they
searched the area from
Tabor Lane and Punkin
Center Road to the junction
of Punkin Center and Diag-
onal roads. He estimated
between 15 and 20 law
enforcement officials joined
the search, including Herm-
iston, Stanfield and Umatilla
police, Oregon State Police,
Umatilla County Commu-
nity Corrections and the
U.S. Forest Service.
Littlefield said further
charges may be added,
potentially property damage
or theft.
“Depending on what
we learn, in his trajectory
from the crash to where
we apprehended him, he
may have committed other
crimes,” Littlefield said. He
was not sure if Phillips was
under the influence of any
drugs.
–——
Contact
Jayati
Ramakrishnan at 541-564-
4534 or jramakrishnan@
eastoregonian.com. Daniel
Wattenburger contributed
to this story.
NAKAPALAU: Was elected with eight write-in votes
Continued from 1A
out there would not be a
quorum in attendance.
Nakapalau was elected
with eight write-in votes
during the November 2016
election and was sworn in
at the beginning of 2017 for
a four-year term.
Berry said now that
Nakapalau has resigned, the
council can choose whether
to leave the seat empty
until the upcoming general
election in November when
the three other council seats
will be up for election, or
establish a procedure for
appointing someone to the
seat until the election.
Berry said she didn’t
have any further comment
regarding Nakapalau and
his resignation.
Mayor Jeanie Hampton
said she couldn’t comment
as to what action the council
might take to address the
empty seat.
She said she couldn’t
recall when she had first
heard rumor of the child
pornography charges, but
local police reported to her
that Nakapalau was not a
registered sex offender.
“Nothing
was
confirmed, and then all the
sudden we had cameras in
our faces,” she said about
the December council
meeting.
Court
documents
obtained by the East
Oregonian do not indicate
why Nakapalau was not
placed on the sex offender
registry, but show he served
eight days in jail, 52 days on
work/education release and
one year under community
supervision under which
he could not possess a
computer outside of work.
An order of discharge
from the Clark County
Court shows he completed
all the requirements of his
sentence in 2007 and his
civil rights, including the
ability to hold public office,
were restored.
Nakapalau has not
responded to requests for
comment or explanation.
After a tumultuous few
months for the city council,
Hampton said she was
looking forward to being
able to focus on other city
business, including planned
upgrades to the sewer
system.
———
Contact Jade McDowell
at jmcdowell@eastorego-
nian.com or 541-564-4536.