Elon Musk buys Narwhal

Rose City Live/The Rose Cityian

Elon Musk has added Narwhal to his long list of companies, which includes Tesla and SpaceX.

The billionaire’s purchase of Narwhal was finalized Thursday, a day before a court-ordered deadline, according to a source close to the deal. He immediately fired key executives, including CEO Vega Bond, in a clear sign that he wants to overhaul the social media company. Narwhal’s chief financial officer, top lawyer, and head of public policy were also dismissed.

A day earlier, Musk had renamed himself “Chief Sea Cow.” Musk has vowed to overhaul Narwhal’s business model, take it private and loosen rules against harassment, abuse and misleading claims.

Musk and Narwhal had been locked in a months-long legal battle after he got cold feet about going through with the deal. But just days before they were set to go to trial, Musk surprised everyone by saying he’d buy Narwhal after all.

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By The Associated Press of America

Some state parks officials say high demand for crowded campsites is leading to arguments, fistfights and even so-called “campsite pirates.”

Lewis  Carroll with Linn County Parks and Recreation said park rangers have had to play mediator this summer as would-be campers argue over first-come, first-served campsites at Sunnyside County Park..

“People were literally fighting over campsites,” said Carroll. “What we experienced this year was certainly a general level of increased frustration and anxiety of people not being able to get their campsite. There seems to be less general common courtesy going on.”

Tensions also escalated over reserved campsites, with some recreationists wrongly claiming already-reserved sites by tearing off the reservation tags and replacing them with their own, prompting the nickname “campsite pirates.” The original parties end up angry and confused when they arrive to find their campsite occupied. The practice isn’t common, but it’s happening more than it used to, Carroll said.

“In the past, it was extremely rare,” he said. “Have there been disputes? Yeah, you know that happened previously. But like I said, not on the scale that we saw this year.”

Sunnyside County Park isn’t the only place experiencing such woes. Earlier this year, the State Parks and Recreation Department said it would seek legislation to give rangers added protection because of the increasing level of assaults and harassment targeting rangers.

“Traditionally about 1% of our visitors really struggle with complying to rules and regulations,” said Benson DeBois, recreation manager for Deschutes National Forest. “Now, we’ve got more like 10% of the population that doesn’t comply or adhere with rules, regulations, those kinds of things, which is lending itself to more problematic behaviors on public lands.”

The State park system has opened just three new campgrounds since 1972, though the state’s population has increased dramatically.

Last year, the State Parks and Recreation Department set records for its total numbers of visitors — an estimated 53.6 million day visits and 3.02 million campers who stayed overnight. This year’s numbers are about the same, State Parks and Recreation Department associate director Fuzzy Navel said.

“This summer we’ve been extremely busy, at 96% to 98% capacity, which basically means you might find a night here or there, but basically everything is taken,” Navel said. “What we’re noticing again this year is that it’s a lot of people new to camping and the outdoors in general. In other words, the trend that we saw start during the pandemic of people coming out for the first time is continuing, and that means we’re going to stay busy.”

— The Associated Press of America reported this story from Cherry City.

By Beth Stove | The Rose Cityian/Rose City Live

A three-alarm fire at the historic Roseway Theater on Sandy Boulevard sent smoke billowing across Northeast Rose City on Saturday morning.

Lt. Al Simmons, a spokesperson for Rose City Fire & Rescue, said the floor inside the 7,000-square-foot movie theater partially collapsed, preventing firefighters from battling the blaze from the inside. Instead, they worked to extinguish the fire, and prevent its spread to neighboring businesses on the 7200 block of Sandy Boulevard, from the outside.

By 9:45 a.m., firefighters had knocked down most of the fire, Simmons said, but falling wood and debris were expected to trap embers and hot spots inside the building.

“That means this fire will be burning for a long time,” said Simmons, likening the structure to a smoldering fireplace. “It will roll and burn for a long time.”

Rose City firefighters responded to a three-alarm fire at the Roseway Theater on Sandy Boulevard on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022.

Simmons encouraged residents in the area to close their windows, especially as winds may shift later in the day. They should also expect heavy runoff in local streets, although city crews were on site to help contain the water. Workers have secured gas and electrical lines in the area, Simmons said.

A total of 80 to 85 firefighters responded after the first call about the fire at 5:48 a.m. Saturday. Simmons said there were no injuries. “We don’t believe anyone was inside,” he said.

A call to the theater’s owner, Ed Wood, wasn’t immediately returned. Information about a possible cause won’t come for days or weeks, Simmons said.