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  • Westview Wildcats earn top spot in season's first Class 6A softball poll

    With spring break tournaments in the rear view mirror and the 2015 softball season kicking into full swing, we're bringing you our first 6A softball media poll of the season. Three teams earned first-place votes in our debut poll, but the Westview Wildcats came away with the most votes for the No. 1 spot. Check out the complete poll...

    With spring break tournaments in the rear view mirror and the 2015 softball season kicking into full swing, we're bringing you our first 6A softball media poll of the season. Three teams earned first-place votes in our debut poll, but the Westview Wildcats came away with the most votes for the No. 1 spot. Check out the complete poll below:   

    Class 6A softball media poll - Week 1 (first-place votes in parentheses)


    1. Westview (4) -- 75


    2. Sprague (2) -- 71


    3. South Medford (2) -- 52


    4. Gresham -- 44


    5. Tualatin -- 35


    6. Oregon City -- 33


    T7. Grants Pass -- 32


    T7. Jesuit -- 32


    9. Clackamas -- 21


    10. West Salem -- 19


    Also receiving votes: North Medford 8, Barlow 5, Glencoe 5, Tigard 2, South Salem 1, Newberg 1

  • Clackamas the clear favorite in first Class 6A baseball media poll of the season

    With spring break tournaments in the rear view mirror and the 2015 baseball season kicking into full swing, we're bringing you our first 6A baseball media poll of the season. Although the Clackamas Cavaliers were the clear favorites for the No. 1 spot, the rest of the top teams remained relatively close together in our voting. Check out the...

    With spring break tournaments in the rear view mirror and the 2015 baseball season kicking into full swing, we're bringing you our first 6A baseball media poll of the season. Although the Clackamas Cavaliers were the clear favorites for the No. 1 spot, the rest of the top teams remained relatively close together in our voting. Check out the complete poll below:   

    Class 6A baseball media poll - Week 1 (first-place votes in parentheses)


    1. Clackamas (5) -- 80


    2. Lake Oswego (1) -- 61


    3. Tualatin (1) -- 41


    T4. Westview (1) -- 34


    T4. Reynolds -- 34


    6. Beaverton -- 33


    7. Sprague (1) -- 32


    T8. Jesuit -- 31


    T8. McMinnville -- 31


    10. Gresham -- 30


    Also receiving votes: Central Catholic 23, West Linn 19, Oregon City 17, West Salem 12, South Eugene 12, North Medford 4, Lincoln 1


  • Monday evening Portland-area commute: Red, blue and green westbound MAX lines delayed due to earlier police activity

    The latest traffic updates for the Monday across Portland.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 5:56 p.m.: Highway 26 westbound at Vista Ridge Tunnel

    The left westbound lane of HWY 26 is blocked by a stall. Jefferson St. looks pretty jammed as well.

    ***

    TriMet is warning of MAX delays.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 5:38 p.m.: Highway 26 eastbound near Sylvan Hill

    Traffic is backing up on Highway 26 eastbound due to a crash just past Sylvan Hill. The jam currently stretches back to Canyon Road. Barnes/Burnside look pretty clear if you want to detour.

    ***

    BEAVERTON, 5:18 p.m.: Highway 26 westbound

    Looks like a crash on HWY 26 westbound between Murray and Cedar Hills Blvd. Not sure exactly where, but there is definitely some slowing in that direction.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 4:19 p.m.: Interstate 205 north at Halsey St.

    A crash on I-205 north is blocking the left lane just before the I-84 merge. Traffic backed up to Glisan and growing.

    UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.: Crash is clear. Traffic still slow approaching Airport Way.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 4:01 p.m.: Interstate 205 north at Interstate 84 junction

    Looks like a crash on I-205 north just out of the I-84 tunnel. Traffic quickly backing up on I-84 east.

    **

    An earlier stall on Intersate 5 southbound in Corbett has traffic slow headed out of town.

    Follow the Oregonian's commuting alerts on Twitter: @TrafficPortland

  • Mount Hood Safety Project back for Round 2; motorists on U.S. 26 will again see delays

    The safety project, in its second season, is designed to reduce cross-over crashes by decreasing the number of rocks that fall onto U.S. 26.

    GOVERNMENT CAMP -- Travelers in the Mount Hood corridor will encounter construction delays through October while crews work on the Oregon Department of Transportation's Mount Hood Safety Project.

    The delays are likely to include one-hour road closures, 20-minute traffic stops and a sharp increase in truck traffic west of Government Camp.

    The safety project, in its second season, is designed to reduce cross-over crashes by decreasing the number of rocks that fall onto U.S. 26.

    Starting Wednesday, U.S. 26 will squeeze to one lane in each direction on a three-mile stretch from east of Kiwanis Camp Road to east of Mirror Lake, said Kimberly Dinwiddie, an ODOT spokeswoman. This will allow an excavation contractor to work behind a barrier on the cliffs there, which now are too close to the highway and drop rocks onto the roadway. The lanes will remain closed, leaving only one lane open in each direction until Oct. 31.

    Blasting the rock cliff will require closures as long as one hour, three evenings a week. The closures are expected to occur between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays. During the blasting closures, flaggers will stop travelers at Kiwanis Camp Road and at the west end of Government Camp. Dates for the blasting closures have not yet been selected, but will be posted on ODOT's TripCheck website.

    As the contractor paints stripes on the road, motorists will encounter traffic stops as long as 20 minutes.

    Increased truck traffic also can be expected on Lolo Pass and Trillium Lake roads. Dinwiddie said flaggers may work around the clock at Map Curve, Mondays through Fridays, into late May.

    Construction work will not be done on Sundays or holidays.

    In addition, ODOT will:

    • Pave an eight-mile section of U.S. 26 between Silent Rock and Oregon 35.
    • Cut back the slope along a 600-foot stretch at Map Curve to provide a 27- foot-wide ditch for rocks to land away from the road.
    • Widen the highway to install a concrete median barrier along a 1.6-mile stretch from just east of the runaway truck ramp and east of the Mirror Lake curves. 
    • Build a retaining wall to reduce impacts to existing trails from highway widening work.
    • Extend the westbound passing lanes for a total of about 1,400 feet.

    Work on the project is expected to take place April through October 2014, 2015 and 2016.

    For more information visit the project website.

    -- Rick Bella rbella@oregonian.com
    503-294-5915;  @southnewshound 

  • Clackamas jail inmate died of natural causes, medical examiner says

    Dr. Larry Lewman, deputy medical examiner, said tests show Bradley David Alford, 35 of Fairview suffered from a heart arrhythmia.

    Bradley David Alford.jpgBradley David Alford 

    A Clackamas County Jail inmate found dead Dec. 28 died of natural causes, according to findings by the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office.

    Dr. Larry Lewman, deputy medical examiner, said tests show Bradley David Alford, 35 of Fairview suffered from a heart arrhythmia.

    "This death will go into the books as cardiac-related, natural causes," Lewman said.

    Clackamas County corrections deputies found Alford unconscious and not breathing during their regular rounds at the jail, 2206 Kaen Road, Oregon City. The deputies began trying to resuscitate Alford, then called for additional help.

    Firefighter-paramedics from Clackamas Fire District 1 and an American Medical Response ambulance arrived, but also were unable to revive him.

    Alford was pronounced dead at the scene. A preliminary investigation ruled out homicide as the cause of death.

    Alford was arrested Dec. 2 for a probation violation related to a 2009 conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants. A Clackamas County judge subsequently sentenced him to 60 days in jail, with credit to time served. He could have been released in late January.

    -- Rick Bella rbella@oregonian.com

    503-294-5915; @southnewshound

  • Offense 'contagious' for Gresham softball in 6-0 start

    Gresham was confident in its defense heading into the softball season. In the Gophers’ 6-0 start, though, the offense has more than done its part, averaging 9.0 runs per game. “It’s kind of been surprising that they’ve come out swinging the bat the way they have,” coach Dave Anderson said. “I just hope it keeps getting better. It’s been...

    Gresham was confident in its defense heading into the softball season. In the Gophers’ 6-0 start, though, the offense has more than done its part, averaging 9.0 runs per game.

    “It’s kind of been surprising that they’ve come out swinging the bat the way they have,” coach Dave Anderson said. “I just hope it keeps getting better. It’s been pretty methodical. One girl catches fire and it’s kind of contagious.”

    Junior second baseman Maddy Lindhorst (.347), a left-handed slap hitter who had four hits in the team’s season-opening win over Hood River Valley, sparks the offense from the leadoff spot.

    Sophomore shortstop Kim Espinoza (.550, 13 runs, seven RBIs) and sophomore third baseman Dosjane’e McCloyn (.526, eight RBIs) are providing punch at No. 3 and No. 4 in the order, respectively.

    In a 4-1 win at The Dalles last week – the team’s best win so far, according to Anderson – McCloyn hit a home run and Espinoza made an acrobatic catch to save a run.

    “She’s probably the most athletic kid I’ve seen in the state this year,” Anderson said of the 5-foot-9 Espinoza. “Basketball, softball, she plays like a guy does. She’s 100 percent, 100 miles an hour all the time.”

    The infield of Lindhorst, Espinoza, McCloyn, junior first baseman Maddie Huff and senior catcher Bree Gibbons leads a defense that has allowed only nine runs. Sophomore pitcher Shianne Smith (5-0, 0.62 ERA) has struck out 36 and walked four in 35 innings.

    Anderson, who coached the Gophers in 2005 and 2006 before spending the last seven seasons as an assistant at Barlow (2008-10) and Gresham (2011-14), has succeeded Kevin Hart as coach. He brings a different approach on offense.

    “I’m a little more aggressive running the bases,” Anderson said. “I’ll take a few more chances.”

    The strong start has helped build confidence for the Gophers, who last year finished 13-12 and lost in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

    “The game with The Dalles was kind of a playoff atmosphere,” Anderson said. “I told them that if they stay healthy and keep working hard in practice, and buy into my philosophy as far as the hitting part, I think we can make a deep push.”


    -- Jerry Ulmer


    julmer@oregonian.com
    503-816-7323
    @jerryulmer

  • Portland Metro Monday Traffic: Crash in the center lane I-84 West at Lloyd

    Oregon schools are back in session after Spring Break. Use extra caution in school zones and around playgrounds today.


    Oregon schools are back in session after Spring Break. Use extra caution in school zones and around playgrounds today.

    TROUTDALE 8:00 a.m.; Injury crash on Historic Columbia River Highway, west of the Multnomah County Animal Shelter. Road is blocked.

    ***

    UPDATE I-205 SOUTHBOUND 7:57 a.m.; Crash on the right shoulder I-205 southbound before the Stafford Road exit. NOT BLOCKING. Backup now starting to ease.

    ***

    Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 6.54.21 AM.pngI-84 at Lloyd 

    UPDATE I-84 INBOUND 7:46 a.m.; Crash in the center lane is blocking traffic westbound on I-84 just before the Lloyd Boulevard exit. ALL LANES CLEARED. Backup remains to I-205.

    ***

    SOUTHEAST PORTLAND 6:30 a.m.; Blocking crash on Southeast Stark Street just west of I-205.

    ***

    Winter paving closes lanes on Southwest Columbia Street from Southwest 18th Avenue to Southwest Broadway through Tuesday.  Crews will grind the road surface from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday. Expect delays

    Check back throughout the morning for the latest commuting updates and follow us on Twitter: @trafficportland 

  • Columbia River Gorge reveals spring waterfalls, wildflowers: Make My Monday (photos)

    The waterfalls were looking pretty good, even with a low snow winter not sending any melt their way. It will be interesting to see how they change as summer progresses.

    Does any big American city have a more beautiful place in spring so close at hand as the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is to Portland?

    I don't think so, though Seattle and San Francisco have it pretty scenic right in the city. Scores of visitors were out enjoying the gorge over Oregon spring break, which, in case you don't know, ends this morning. Do you hear the school bell ringing?

    I made it into the gorge on Friday to look at wildflowers and waterfalls. The big flower bloom is at its early stages, with the best still to come later in April.

    The waterfalls were looking pretty good, even with a low snow winter not sending any melt their way. It will be interesting to see how they change as summer progresses.

    Here's a link to more photos of Wahclella Falls, a real beauty tucked back in the gorge at the Bonneville Dam exit No. 40: Wahclella Falls in Columbia River Gorge great hike for waning days of spring break.

    More
    Continuing coverage of the Columbia River Gorge, with 20 things everybody loves about Hood River.

    Are here are more links to what I have been calling Make My Monday, a post with lots of photos from beautiful places to help start the week off right _ even though school is back in session.

    Links to the previous seven versions of Make My Monday:

    Wildlife Safari has cute new cheetah cub, Pancake.

    Oregon Coast Aquarium critter photos.

    Summer Lake welcomes spring snow geese migration (photos).

    Owyhee country (photos) in Malheur County is Oregon's early Hawaii tie.

    Thanks a lot, Hawaii, for sending that Pineapple Express to Oregon (plus the Ukulele Picnic in Hawaii video).

    Panaewa Rodeo Stampede in Hilo shows that Hawaii Island has it all (video).

    Lahaina celebrates Chinese New Year with lion dancing (video, plus Maui photos).

    -- Terry Richard
    trichard@oregonian.com
    503-221-8222; @trichardpdx

  • Portland Metro Monday Forecast: One more day of partly sunny skies, big changes for the rest of the week

    Big changes start happening tonight as a cold front moves our way and lowers the snow level for the Cascades to 4000 feet.

    The upper level ridge that kept us warm and dry all weekend continues Monday. Expect partly sunny skies and a high of 67 today.

    Big changes start happening tonight as a cold front moves our way and lowers the snow level for the Cascades to 4000 feet. The metro area gets steady rain and much cooler temperatures starting Tuesday.

    By your morning commute tomorrow you'll have rain and a low of 45. Temperatures should stay in the low 50s for highs until the end of the work week.

  • Week ahead in spring sports: Former Three Rivers rivals Clackamas, Lake Oswego play non-league baseball

    Westview and Sprague square off in a battle of the OSAA's top two in 6A softball

    After refreshing from spring break, the high school sports schedule returns to full speed this week. Here are some of the best upcoming events:

    Baseball


    Jesuit at McMinnville, 5 p.m. Monday: Both schools emerge from successful spring break tournaments. McMinnville (4-1) won the Glencoe Spring Break tournament at Ron Tonkin Field, beating West Albany 7-1 in the championship game. Jesuit (4-1) claimed three games at a large tournament in Arizona.


    Lake Oswego at Clackamas, 5 p.m. Tuesday: Two former Three Rivers League rivals couldn't pass up the chance to play each other in a non-league game. Both are off to solid starts in 2015. Lake Oswego (5-1) already has two wins over Metro League favorite Westview, while Clackamas (5-1) took three of four at the Crater Spring Break tournament.


    Reynolds at Sandy, 4:30 p.m. Friday: Two teams with high aspirations in their respective classifications play their final non-league games of the season. Sandy is the defending Class 5A state champion, while Reynolds hopes to make a run at its second consecutive Mt. Hood Conference title.


    Softball


    Sprague at Westview, 5 p.m. Thursday: If the OSAA rankings are an indicator, this is as good as it gets for a non-league game in a battle of unbeatens. No. 1 Westview (5-0) rolled to four wins in the Jesuit-Sunset tournament during last week, while No. 2 Sprague (7-0) claimed four wins at the Medford Spring Break tournament.


    Putnam at Oregon City, 5 p.m. Friday: Two top-10 teams in their classification meet in one of their final tune-ups before league play begins. Putnam (5-2) beefed up on 6A non-league competition, including a win over defending champion South Salem. Oregon City (5-1) has scored at least five runs in its past four games.


    Lacrosse


    Lakeridge at Lincoln boys, 8 p.m. Wednesday: Two of the state's storied boys lacrosse programs square off in a non-league game. Since 2002, Lakeridge and Lincoln have combined to win nine state titles. Last year, Lakeridge beat Lincoln in the playoff quarterfinals, as the Pacers eventually finished second to West Linn.


    --Nick Daschel


    ndaschel@comcast.net


    @nickdaschel


     

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