Phil Wright

Senior Reporter
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Wright, Phil

Milton-Freewater and friends spread Christmas joy


Milton-Freewater aims to grow into its wreath of Christmas traditions.

The small northeastern Oregon town boasts an annual Christmas parade, a neighborhood with a synchronized light show and an open house at the hi...

Retail battlefield: Walmart vs. Amazon in Eastern Oregon


Two of the biggest names in retail are investing serious money in Umatilla and Morrow counties as they wage a multi-billion dollar battle for the hearts and wallets of consumers across the globe.

Walmart, which has...

Sheriff’s office looks to balance skills with experience


Steven McDaniel likes his fit with the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office.

“Mainly, what I’ve done has been some form of helping people,” he said.

At 38 he has almost 20 years of se...

Impaired drivers make holiday driving more dangerous


Pendleton police have made 119 arrests so far this year for driving under the influence. The department is on track for 136 arrests this year, just one less than 2016.

Hermiston police, however, have had a big drop...

Pendleton police shelve razors to fight cancer

- Officers will wait tables at Hamley Steakhouse on Dec. 1 to raise money for cancer treatment

Hampton signals retirement plans, Breiling runs for circuit court seat

- Circuit Judge Lynn Hampton not seeking re-election

Rodeo City Inn owner on notice for dangerous building

- County passed ordinance in June to deal with derelict properties

Umatilla County hires new economic development coordinator


Umatilla County selected a new coordinator for economic development and tourism. County Commissioner Bill Elfering said the county board aims to announce the hire after the candidate passes a background check, which may ...

Peer mentors to boost local mental health services

- Program relies on people who have personal experience with mental health problems to help clients navigate daily life.

Morning fire forces out Pendleton-area family

- State fire marshal urges smoke alarm testing before replacing batteries

Umatilla County starts process for ag extension taxing district

- District proponents to again seek support from city of Umatilla

Local emergency scanner transmissions could become off limits to public

- Deschutes County already uses encryption for scanner traffic

Simpson pleads guilty to 2016 murder on Umatilla Indian Reservation

- Murderer faces prison sentence of 25 years

Paranormal is this team’s routine


Jamie Gardner’s grave marker at the small abandoned cemetery off Foster Cemetery Road, Stanfield, shows the boy died in 1891 at the age of 6. Chris Dacus of Pendleton said that has not stopped Jaime from communica...

Zombie-mobile prowls Pendleton’s streets


When the zombie apocalypse hits, Jesselee Leachman of Pendleton will be ready. Or at least ready to drive through the hordes of shambling and rotting dead.

Leachman, 34, is the owner of a 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora he ...

PHS teen suffers life-threatening injuries in crash

- Local agencies response to multiple crashes in three days

Hermiston gas plant devaluation knocks $934,000 off county tax rolls

- Umatilla County loses about 1 percent of total assessed value.

Umatilla County upgrades Pendleton sites


Umatilla County is replacing sidewalks and curbs at the courthouse in Pendleton and upgrading other fronts.

Rod Anderson Construction Inc., Pendleton, won the sidewalk project with a $146,000 bid. Crews this week a...

Echo’s Oktoberfest draws world-traveling guests

- German tourists happen upon town as event begins, pleased at the coincidence.

Pilot Rock moves to ban feeding wild turkeys

- Council passes on extra ordinance to ban trapping because it’s already in the state law.

Disconnected: Wtechlink co-founders split after lengthy legal battle

- Byron Wysocki buys out Jordan McDonald after lawsuit alleging misuse of company funds

Six arrested in Milton-Freewater drug raid

- Two arrested on felony warrants for possession and delivery of methamphetamines.

Umatilla, Morrow counties firm up alliance on key issues

- More than 1,000 people coming to area for jobs in next three years

Umatilla, Morrow county boards to sit down for first time in years


The boards of commissioners for Morrow and Umatilla counties will make a rare move Friday — a joint meeting.

Doug Olson, long-serving attorney for Umatilla County, said he could not recall the last time the...

Sexual predator sparks Pendleton man to sound alarm

- Steven Duggan listed as predatory offender in Oregon, no longer living at Pendleton address

No skiing at Spout Springs again this season


Spout Springs Ski Area will remain closed for the second winter in a row.

John Murray, 69, of Portland, owns the modest resort on Highway 204 near Tollgate, between Weston and Elgin.

He said he needs to step ...

Hermiston police to crack down on Highway 395 jaywalking

- Police chief announces zero tolerance for jaywalkers on Highway 395 in month of October

Givens, Murdock running again for Umatilla County board


Larry Givens and George Murdock will each seek another term as Umatilla County commissioner.

The county elections office confirmed Murdock filed his Position 1 candidacy paperwork Tuesday morning to run in the May ...

No charges for Morrow County deputy who shot man

- Grand jury clears Aaron Haak after watching video of Sept. 22 shooting

Turkey options on Pilot Rock City Council plate

- City recorder Teri Porter announces retirement

‘Hard firefighting’ defeats stubble field blaze

- Shovels main tool in combating fire off Gerking Flat Road

Police chase ends with two arrests

- Speeds ranged 65-90 mph during pursuit

Latest dog shooting part of bigger Pendleton problem

- Pendleton police respond to 749 dog complaints per year

State police to question Morrow County deputy who shot man


Morrow County District Attorney Justin Nelson said the sheriff’s deputy who shot a man early Friday is about to undergo two days of police interviews.

Nelson also said revealing the deputy’s identity ...