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Byline: The Register-Guard

Soldier who refused

to serve in Iraq to speak

An Army lieutenant who faces a court-martial for refusing to serve in Iraq will speak in Eugene on Saturday at an event organized in support of several causes.

Lt. Ehren Watada will speak at a rally of Take Back Our America, a coalition of peace, justice and environmental groups.

Watada faces a second trial in June after the judge in his February court-martial declared a mistrial. Watada, who is stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., refused to deploy with his unit in 2006 and has called the Iraq war illegal. He has said he would be willing to serve in Afghanistan.

The Saturday rally begins at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of 13th Avenue and Monroe Street, near the Lane County Events Center. Participants will march to the old Federal Building at Seventh Avenue and Pearl Street for a noon rally.

An evening benefit to cover legal costs for Watada and Suzanne Swift, the Eugene soldier who was court-martialed in January for refusing to go to Iraq, will be at Cozmic Pizza from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

NORTHWEST

Measure would outlaw

text-messaging drivers

OLYMPIA - The Washington state House has voted to outlaw text-messaging while driving.

For years, lawmakers have considered a ban on use of hand-held cell phones while driving, but this was the first big vote on the practice of trying to compose or read electronic messages via Blackberry devices or cellular telephones at the wheel.

The measure, adopted on a 73-23 vote, goes next to the Senate, which recently approved a ban on hand-held cell phone use by drivers. The House has not voted on that bill.

Rep. Joyce McDonald, R-Puyallup, said the text-messaging bill was prompted by a recent collision involving three vehicles and a bus on Interstate 5. The driver of one vehicle was text-messaging, she said.

Governor, city leaders seek road compromise

OLYMPIA - A day after Seattle voters trounced both options for replacing the quake-damaged Alaskan Way Viaduct, Gov. Chris Gregoire and local leaders on Wednesday announced a new two-year attempt to negotiate a compromise.

A tunnel option sought by city leaders apparently is off the table, although the governor said it's premature to definitively rule anything out. A surface option - a street-level road combined with dramatically heavier use of transit - is expected to gain new traction.

The state will press ahead with $900 million worth of work on the waterfront that any of the replacement ideas will need.

Seattle voters on Tuesday strongly rejected a proposal to rebuild the aging viaduct and were even more adamantly opposed to the tunnel option pushed by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

The rebuild option, with a pricetag of $2.8 billion, was failing 56 percent to 44 percent and the $3.4 billion tunnel was getting buried 70 percent to 30 percent after new vote totals were released Wednesday.

Park service announces new superintendent

SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. - The National Park Service has named Palmer ``Chip'' Jenkins, Jr., as the new superintendent of North Cascades National Park, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and Ross Lake National Recreation Area.

Jenkins, who is to start his new job on April 15, replaces William Paleck, who retired in January.

Jenkins will move to the Sedro-Woolley area from Astoria, where he is superintendent of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.
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Title Annotation:General News; METRO
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 15, 2007
Words:563
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