Phil Wright

Senior Reporter
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Wright, Phil

Pendleton arts center’s new coordinator builds with community ties


Kate Brizendine is bringing her enthusiasm and connections to a key position at the Pendleton Center for the Arts.

Brizendine, 31, is the center’s new coordinator of education and outreach. She took the job ...

EOCI superintendent on leave amidst investigation


The superintendent of the state prison in Pendleton is on paid administrative leave and under investigation.

The Oregon Department of Corrections placed Brigitte Amsberry on leave in early September. She has been s...

Flight of aphids clogs Pendleton air


Pendleton folks can expect to keep swatting their way through town while the flight of autumn aphids remains aloft.

Locals have noticed the minute insects darting about are far greater in number this year. The bugs...

Umatilla County sheriff explores jail detox possibilities


Staff at the Umatilla County Jail deal with addicts every day. Sheriff Terry Rowan said he wants to find a way to change that.

“Essentially what we’re trying to do is to make the people that come out ...

Hermiston man takes plea deals in child sex cases


Jose Guadalupe Sanguino Cancino of Hermiston pleaded guilty Monday to felonies in separate sexual assault cases. The crimes will net him a maximum of 4.5 years in prison.

Sanguino Cancino, 37, made deals with the s...

Low fish numbers prompt early end to steelhead season

- State also reduces bag limit on salmon

Umatilla County section missing from some state voters’ pamphlets

- County elections department working to fix oversight

Walden, McLeod-Skinner take on the issues


Republican Greg Walden seeks an 11th term as the U.S. representative for Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District. But he said this election is different.

He is feeling heat from some constituents. He has paid fo...

Oregon to receive $17 million in federal funds to fight opioid crisis

- Walden’s anti-opioid bill on cusp of becoming law

Murdock, Pullen firm up stances in race for county commissioner


Umatilla County Commissioner George Murdock and challenger Rick Pullen agreed the county’s election process could use some improvement.

Otherwise, they took familiar roles Wednesday night during a local cand...

Pendleton police will begin wearing body cameras by 2021


Pendleton police will finally get body cameras.

The department received a grant from the United States Department of Justice to help pay for the equipment. Police Chief Stuart Roberts said he estimated the program ...

State seeks $11K from mother whose son died in prison shooting


Kristen Wilson lost her son Jayson Withers in 2014 when a corrections officer at the state prison in Pendleton shot and killed him. She filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against Charles Frates for making th...

Indigenous Peoples Day is every day

- ‘We’re still expressing our culture through art, dance, music ...’ — Bobbie Conner

Pullen’s cash lags behind in Umatilla County commissioner race

- Former commissioner candidate Bailor urges voters to participate

Eastern Oregon contractor sweep turns up 33 possible work site violations


Investigations at more than 100 job sites in Eastern Oregon revealed 33 possible contractor violations.

The Oregon Construction Contractors Board reported field investigators conducted the sweep last week through M...

Write-in campaign seeks to keep Givens in county office


Umatilla County Commissioner Larry Givens is not giving up on serving a fourth term.

“I got some folks that are supporting a write-in campaign,” Givens said. “They approached me. This is suppo...

Milton-Freewater drug dealer gets five years in fed prison


Carlos Cisneros-Razo of Milton-Freewater is going to federal prison for five years for dealing methamphetamine.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon on Monday handed down the five-year prison sentence plus four yea...

Measure 30-128: Pro-gun rights ordinance would put power in sheriff’s hands


Pro-Second Amendment activist Jesse Bonifer of Athena wants the oversight of Constitutionally-protected gun rights to become local.

“We’re trying to bring everything back to the county level,” ...

Fire from homeless camp threatens Pendleton homes


Pendleton firefighters and residents on Northeast Ellis Place halted a grass fire that spread from a homeless camp to threaten homes and families Wednesday evening.

“We were a community working hard together...

Umatilla County ready for the storm with response designation


Umatilla County is ready to handle big, bad weather.

The county on Wednesday received the StormReady designation from the National Weather Service. Mike Vescio is the meteorologist-in-charge at the agency’s ...

Campaign signs sprout in commissioner race

- Murdock has spent $7,200, Pullen has yet to file expenses

Delay keeps De La Paz in jail for now


Attempted murder defendant Silvestre Sanguino De La Paz of Hermiston has to wait until next week for a jail release hearing.

De La Paz, 23, has been in the Umatilla County Jail, Pendleton, since his arrest on Sept....

Lost Valley founder jailed for meth in Hermiston


The founder of Oregon’s second-largest dairy found himself Friday in Hermiston police handcuffs.

Hermiston police arrested Greg te Velde, 60, for felony methamphetamine possession. The resident of Tipton, Ca...

Hazardous waste and health living: Umatilla County events helps locals clean up and get fit

- Pendleton has household waste collection and Hermiston High houses family wellness fair

Round-Up patrol aims to head off troublemakers on rodeo nights

- Program in its eighth year, looks to keep the peace rather than make arrests

Pendleton — Oregon’s hub for one week a year

- From politicians to civil rights leaders, Pendleton Round-Up draws them

Tough Enough To Wear Pink crosses $22K to fight cancer


Donations to this year’s Tough Enough To Wear Pink campaign to support breast cancer patients and survivors has topped $22,000.

That’s about $3,000 more than 2017 and $2,000 more than 2016.


Pendleton chain saw carves way to dream


Ralph Edmonds fulfilled a life-long ambition Tuesday morning,

“This is a big accomplishment,” the grinning Edmonds said. “I always wanted to have something in Hamley’s since I was a kid...

Stanfield council orders demolition of ‘dangerous’ property


The owner of the Stanfield property where police and volunteers rescued 35 dogs has until Sept. 18 to get rid of the single-wide trailer.

Stanfield City Manager Blair Larsen said the council unanimously voted last ...

As tourists flock to Pendleton, some businesses prepare for a slow week

- Florist, tire shop, theater among businesses skipped over by rodeo week visitors

New crime lab being built in Pendleton

- Oregon State Police building $1.25 million facility with expanded services

Hermiston police remain committed to cams

- Department nearing end of five-year contract; chief hopes to see it extended.

Executive team takes leadership of Umatilla County health


Umatilla County approved a plan to keep someone in charge of its public health department. Actually, two people.

The department’s last administrator, Jim Setzer, resigned a month ago, marking the third perso...

Porky the pet Pilot Rock pot-bellied pig mistaken as feral, shot by hunter

- Portland-area archery hunter saw pig in the roadway and killed it

Umatilla County reorganizes public health department


Umatilla County is reorganizing the leadership in the public health department this week.

Commissioner George Murdock didn’t offer details but said the department will have a new director while embracing a t...

Treatment court offers way out of addiction


Alaska Koski liked what she saw Friday in Umatilla County’s new drug treatment court.

“I think it looked really supportive,” she said. “No one claps for you in regular court.”

Buehler seeks PERS changes to fund Oregon schools

- Buehler: ‘I won’t sign a new spending bill until I have PERS reform on my desk.’

DA charges Stanfield couple with 37 counts of animal neglect


Husband and wife Richard Tyrone Ruiz and Martina Garcia Ruiz of Stanfield each face 37 counts of animal neglect stemming from a recent police investigation.

Stanfield police arrested the couple on Aug. 19 at their ...

Area high schools get glimpse of tribal ways

- Students from schools that compete against Nixyaawii learn about American Indian culture

Bigfoot believers gather in Tri-Cities

- Annual Bigfoot conference draws local’s interest

Rescuers reach man trapped in tree near Ukiah


Rescuers saved a man Tuesday who was trapped upside down in a tree in the forests of the Blue Mountains.

Jodi Florence, public information officer for the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, said Union County ...

Local sheriffs join support to end Oregon’s sanctuary law

- 16 of Oregon’s 36 sheriffs urge end to state’s sanctuary statue

New law allowed gun seizures twice in Umatilla County

- Death threats, mental breaks and other circumstances can lead to loss of weapons per court order

Milton-Freewater drive-by shooting leads to attempted murder charges

- Suspect Michael Angelo Cantu arrested at work after being released from jail on bail