Northwest Briefly: Gregoire says 520 bridge changes would take too long

SEATTLE — Gov. Chris Gregoire says changes suggested by Seattle lawmakers to the proposed Highway 520 replacement bridge would result in unacceptable delays.

On Monday, state House Speaker Frank Chopp of Seattle, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, two Seattle councilmen and two state legislators said they’re seeking two mass transit lanes for the new bridge, instead of a pair of carpool lanes.

State law currently calls for a toll bridge with two general purpose lanes and one carpool lane in each direction. Gregoire says changing the configuration would require a new environmental process, with a delay of as much as 24 months. And she adds, “Our commitment to ensuring public safety does not allow that kind of delay.”

Design research has been under way since 1997 to replace the nearly 47-year-old, four-lane bridge, one of two across Lake Washington. The 520 bridge is considered at risk of sinking in a severe earthquake or windstorm. The new bridge is expected to cost at least $4.6 billion.

Port of Seattle weighs $300M for viaduct replacement’s tunnel

The Port of Seattle is proposing an investment of up to $300 million in the $2 billion tunnel proposed to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct along the downtown Seattle waterfront.

The port released a draft of its agreement with the state Monday for the project.

The port’s proposed contribution aims to promote freight mobility and access for cruise lines and others who use the traffic corridor.

The current elevated highway is 57 years old and in danger of collapsing in a severe earthquake.

Vancouver, Wash.: Convict confesses to killing he denied committing

A man who had asked the Innocence Project Northwest to reopen his case in a murder conviction now admits he killed a 14-year-old girl in 1996 in Clark County.

Sergey S. Spitsyn, 30, had insisted for years he should not have been convicted of second-degree murder for the strangulation death of Tamara Gritchenko.

He had asked the Seattle-based Innocence Project to take up his case but sent the group a letter last year confessing. The group sent the letter to prosecutors who made it available to the media.

In it, Spitsyn calls himself a “lying murderer” and says there was no motive for the crime.

The Vancouver Columbian reported Spitsyn will be deported to Russia after he completes his sentence in April.

Tacoma: McChord, Fort Lewis bases are now one

The military loves acronyms and now it has another one — JBLM. That stands for Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

A flag ceremony was held Monday to finish a realignment decision made five years ago to merge the Fort Lewis Army base and McChord Air Force Base into one operation.

Fort Lewis began as Camp Lewis in 1917. McChord began as McChord Field in 1940.

The base currently has 16,000 soldiers and about 200 airmen deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yakima: Shotgun comes in handy against intruders

Three men tried to break into a home west of Yakima while the resident was home.

The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said he was on the phone to a dispatcher Sunday when a brick came through the window.

The homeowner armed himself with a shotgun as the would-be burglar entered the house. When he saw the gun, the intruder jumped into a getaway car. It sped off with the homeowner firing three shots at the car. The third suspect fled on foot.

A sheriff’s deputy and Union Gap police stopped and arrested two men in the car. A Washington State Patrol trooper arrested the third man.

Tri-Cities: Earthquake swarm hits Hanford

In the past year, about 2,000 small quakes have rattled an area under the Hanford nuclear reservation.

A seismologist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Alan Rohay, said the quakes were too small to cause damage. The largest last February was a magnitude 2.9.

The quakes were centered about eight miles north or Richland, just west of the Columbia River.

The Tri-City Herald reported the quakes occurred in an area with no buildings and no environmental cleanup work. Similar swarms were recorded in the area in 1970, 1975 and 1988.

Spokane: Burglars hit three businesses

Burglars hit three Spokane Valley businesses in a 30-minute spree early Monday.

Police said two men broke into two convenience stores and a fast-food restaurant. They got away with cash and cigarettes.

KXLY-TV reported surveillance video shows two men wearing dark clothing, hooded sweat shirts, masks, and gloves.

Union Gap: Teen shot by cops released from hospital

A teenager shot by Union Gap police who say he pointed a gun at them has been released from a hospital and is being held in Yakima County juvenile detention.

He’s facing a charge of assaulting a law enforcement officer.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported officers were responding to a report Sunday of a threatening man when the armed teen confronted them outside a home. Chief Robert Almeida says the officers were forced to fire. The Yakima Police Department is investigating.

Tumwater: 13 slain on the job last year

The slayings last year of six law enforcement officers made a total of 13 on-the-job homicides in Washington.

The Department of Labor and Industries said this is the highest number of workplace violence deaths in more than a decade.

In addition to the officers, others slain on the job were clerks, a taxi driver, a musician and an armored car driver.

Hoquiam: Stabbing victim changes his story; arrest results

A 17-year-old who said he was stabbed while walking down a street in Hoquiam changed his story and said he was attacked by a man he argued with at a party.

KXRO-AM reported the information led police to arrest a 20-year-old man for investigation of assault.

The Hoquiam teen was struck four times in the Saturday morning attack and was treated at Community Hospital in Aberdeen.

Rochester: Teen driver killed in car crash

A 17-year-old boy from Tenino was killed in a collision near Millersvania State Park south of Olympia.

The Washington State Patrol said his car drifted off Highway 121 Sunday near the entrance to the park, overcorrected and collided with an oncoming car.

Troopers said the other driver was not injured but was checked at an Olympia hospital as a precaution.

Oregon: Burning Toyota ends felon’s escape

A Eugene man has been jailed in Klamath Falls after state police say his car erupted in flames while trying to elude a state trooper.

The incident began Sunday afternoon when Trooper Travis Peterson pulled over a Toyota Camry for a traffic violation on U.S. 97 north of the California border.

The trooper’s computer search revealed that 39-year-old James Lee Emary was wanted on three felony warrants.

As Peterson approached the car to arrest Emary, the driver fled southbound.

The chase lasted for a few miles until smoke and flames from under the hood persuaded Emary to pull over.

The fire fully engulfed the car as he was taken into custody.

No jury verdict yet in faith healing trial

There was no verdict in the first full day of jury deliberations in the faith healing trial of an Oregon City couple charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of their 16-year-old son.

The two-week trial of Jeff and Marci Beagley in Clackamas County Circuit Court ended last Friday. Jury deliberations resume today.

Prosecutors said the Beagleys failed to provide medical care to their son Neil when it could have saved his life. The Beagleys are members of the Followers of Christ Church, which avoids doctors.

Defense attorneys argue the teenager’s symptoms looked like a bad cold or flu.

In a previous case, the Beagleys’ son-in-law was found guilty of criminal mistreatment in the death of his 15-month-old daughter from pneumonia, but the son-in-law and his wife were acquitted of manslaughter.

Old Medford skull keeps its secrets

Four years after its discovery, an old skull found in Medford remains a mystery.

Construction workers found the skull in a crawl space under a guest house at the historic Owen House in January 2006.

The garage built in the 1920s had been converted into an apartment in the 1940s and rented to military officers stationed at Camp White. It had been used as a guest house since the war.

A medical examiner and a forensic anthropologist concluded the skull belonged to a young woman and was likely more than 100 years old. Its shape indicated that the woman was either Asian or Native American, but everything else about the skull remains unknown.

Medford police closed the case because it is not related to any criminal investigation. The skull is in the care of anthropologists at the University of Oregon.

From Herald news services

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