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The Waffle House shooter had an earlier weapons arrest near the White House. Also on our Monday rundown: new eviction data underscores America’s affordable-housing crisis; plus we will take you to a state where one county is putting juvenile justice under public health.

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Oregon Coast Stars in New Documentary

August 4, 2008

Eugene, OR – Oregon's slice of the Pacific Ocean is getting a lot of attention lately. Governor Ted Kulongoski recently joined Governor Chris Gregoire (Wash.), and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (Calif.), in signing a "West Coast Governors' Agreement on Ocean Health," after two years of planning. In addition, nominations are underway this summer for locations of offshore marine reserves along the Oregon Coast. A new documentary about protecting ocean life also has been released.

Kulongoski asked the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon's Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) to develop a network of marine reserves in state waters to help restore and protect fish and their habitat for future generations. Susan Allen, director of Our Ocean, a nonprofit coalition of conservation groups, says the topic of "Common Ground 2: Oregon Ocean Legacy" is an update of the marine reserves debate.

"It's an overview of what communities have in common - how fishermen and scientists have found areas of common interest and have been building on those things, and what the local communities have been doing with that guidance."

"Common Ground 2" will be shown around the state in August.

The governors have outlined seven priority areas for ocean health, including promoting systems that protect the ocean as a whole, rather than focusing on individual species. This is in the spirit of what the state already is doing, Allen says, so it should be especially helpful to Oregon.

"I think that it's the power of three: You have all three West Coast states that have one resource in common, so it's exciting to see a common vision. It's the stewardship piece that Oregonians understand."

The governors are asking Congress for $5 million to help them implement the agreement. Congress approved more than $8 million to implement a similar agreement made in the Gulf Coast states. According to Allen, almost $1 billion of the Oregon economy is linked to the ocean.

The West Coast Governors' agreement can be viewed online at www.westcoastoceans.org. Clips and information about "Common Ground 2," made by Green Fire Productions, are at www.oceansonline.org. Sept. 30 is the deadline for Oregonians to nominate special places as marine reserves; information is available at www.oregonmarinereserves.net.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR