The Odd Side – June 10, 2014

Oregon County Hangs ‘For Sale’ Sign on Unused Jail

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Oregon’s largest county is looking to unload a jail in mint condition — having never housed a suspect or convict.

The Wapato (WAH’-puh-tow) Jail was built a decade ago at a cost of $58 million, and Multnomah County is spending more than $300,000 a year for maintenance, The Oregonian reports.

But assumptions about crime rates and other trends never panned out, and the county didn’t set aside money to open and staff the jail.

So it has sat vacant, except for short-term uses such as providing background for an ad for vacuum cleaners.

Alternative uses, such as a homeless shelter, didn’t work out. The state, which has expanded its own detention capacity in recent decades, decided it wouldn’t do for a state prison.

The county commissioners have long looked for ways to get out from under the cost.

“This board does not want to continue paying $300,000 a year to keep the water pipes from freezing,” county spokesman David Austin said in December.

On May 2, the county started accepting expressions of interest in buying the facility. County officials won’t say what kind of response they’ve gotten so far.

The jail was designed for 525 inmates.

It has 168,420 square feet on 18 acres in a North Portland industrial zone that abuts a wetlands area.

The most recent property assessments estimate a fair price for the property is $40 million.

Puppy Drives Car Into Massachusetts Pond

CANTON, Mass. (AP) – After going for a walk, a German shepherd puppy owned by a Massachusetts man decided to go for a drive — straight into a pond.

John Costello tells WFXT that his 12-week-old puppy, Rosie, was so excited Sunday after going for a walk at Bolivar Pond in Canton that she jumped in his running car, hit the gear stick and shifted into drive, before falling onto the gas pedal and sending the car careening into the water.

A couple of passers-by saw the commotion and helped Costello rescue Rosie. Nobody was injured, but Costello says the Dodge Neon is a total loss.

The 911 call surprised even police. Officer Robert Quirk says he has never heard of a dog driving into a pond.

Moose Disrupts Handicraft Class at Swedish School

HELSINKI (AP) – Schoolchildren in western Sweden received a surprise visit during their handicraft class when a moose jumped through the window.

The teacher and a dozen teenagers fled the classroom to another part of the school and locked themselves into a room to escape the thrashing animal, which had wounded itself on the broken window.

Goteborg police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg told daily Aftonbladet that the young moose “was in a panic and so were the children and teacher.”

Officers broke a window to let the schoolchildren out and later shot the wounded animal that couldn’t find its way out of the school.

Except for the moose, no one was injured during the incident at the high school in Molndal, near the western city of Goteborg.

Husband, Wife in 80’s Scare Off Would-Be Robber

MILTON, Wash. (AP) – A Washington state couple in their 80s say they managed to spook a would-be robber who burst into their home.

KOMO reports Jim and Betty Lilja of Milton wonder whether they were followed home.

They say a man in his 20s barged into their home the night of Friday, May 23, with his hand in his pocket. He demanded their money and threatened to shoot. Jim Lilja says he told the intruder he was 85 years old, so “if you want to shoot, go ahead and shoot.”

When the intruder left them alone in the living room to search the bedroom, the couple ran outside, and Jim Lilja decided to push the alarm button on his car key. That sent the robber racing out of the house and into a waiting car — without the couple’s cash.

Milton police are investigating.

Bear Wanders Into Wausau Courthouse Parking Garage

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) – Deputies in central Wisconsin say an adult bear that wandered into a parking garage beneath the Wausau courthouse has been safely captured and released.

A Daily Herald Media report says the bear was discovered early Saturday in an employee parking garage.

Marathon County sheriff’s Lt. Mark Wagers says an animal-control officer subdued the animal with a drugged dart. Officials with the state Department of Natural Resources took it to a wooded area and released it.

Wagers says the bear was an unusual sight, but deputies weren’t fazed. He says they’ve had to deal with a variety of animals that get trapped in the garage somehow, including deer and owls.

Biker’s Wallet Lands on Highway, Scatters $1,300

UINTAH, Utah (AP) – A motorcyclist’s wallet popped out of his pack while he was riding on a Utah freeway and was run over by a semi-truck, scattering $1,300 in cash and other contents.

Weber County sheriff’s Sgt. Lane Findlay says the Ogden man failed to properly zip the pack shut before taking off and the wallet fell out of it and onto Interstate 84 near Uintah.

He told Ogden’s Standard-Examiner the man didn’t realize what happened until another motorcyclist caught up to him and told him something fell out of his pack.

The cash, credit cards and IDs were scattered across the freeway and a nearby grassy field.

A sheriff’s deputy stopped and helped the two recover most of the cash and other contents.

The man, whose name wasn’t released, said he was on his way to the bank to deposit the cash.

Radar Picks Up Grasshopper Swarm Over Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Weather officials in Albuquerque say a mysterious presence that showed up on its radar the last few nights has turned out to be of the insect variety.

The National Weather Service says a swarm of grasshoppers were detected over Albuquerque’s West Mesa for the fourth night in a row on Friday.

Meteorologist Chuck Jones says the swarm got caught up in winds heading southwest and is being carried as high as 1,000 feet.

Jones says the grasshoppers likely hatched weeks ago and are now grown, leading to their ability to trigger radar images.

Officials say last year’s monsoon season and a drier winter created the ideal environment for the grasshoppers to hatch.

Technicians initially thought their equipment was malfunctioning when they saw several unexplained clusters.