Fisheries Service to consider listing coho as endangered

Herald staff

PORTLAND — The National Marine Fisheries Service handed conservation groups a victory when it said it would consider listing Columbia River coho salmon under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Oregon Trout, the Native Fish Society and Trout Unlimited had argued that populations of wild coho spawn naturally in the Sandy and Clackamas rivers, and the federal agency’s decision Friday means it now agrees.

If the agency protects the fish, the listing could mean sharp catch limits or closures of sport and commercial fisheries that pursue the hundreds of thousands of coho raised in hatcheries operated by the federal government and the states of Oregon and Washington.

The fisheries service has a year to decide.

  • Woman sentenced in death plot: A Lake Oswego woman who twice tried to hire someone to kill her ex-boyfriend will spend the next 14 years either in an Oregon prison or in the Oregon State Hospital. Benton County Circuit Judge pro tem Ken Osher sentenced Sarah Ater, 33, to 15 years in custody on Friday after she pleaded guilty to one count of attempted aggravated murder and one count of conspiracy to commit felony arson. Ater was arrested in July 1999 after a police investigation determined she was behind suspicious incidents that had dogged her ex-boyfriend, Darren Cox of Corvallis, during the previous three weeks — including a car fire and shots being fired at his house from a car. Ater was arrested as the mastermind behind the foiled attempt. While out on bail in November 1999, she was arrested again after attempting to hire another man to kill Cox. The man turned out to be an undercover Portland detective.

  • Man charged in girl’s slaying: A 23-year-old man was arrested Friday night and charged with first-degree murder in the case of a 10-year-old girl whose body was found at a park, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said. The man had lived for the past year in the same suburban Vancouver apartment complex where Heather Thomas was last seen on Oct. 1, said Constable Janice Armstrong. The man, whose name was not released, is scheduled to appear in provincial court Monday, Armstrong said. Thomas disappeared while playing outside her father’s Cloverdale apartment. Her naked body was found three weeks later in a lake in Golden Ears provincial park, about 45 minutes away from the apartment complex.

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