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Seattle/Western Wash. News Releases for Sat. Dec. 10 - 12:52 am
Federal
Trespassers cut fence and damaged equipment at substation in greater Portland area
Bonneville Power Administration - 12/08/22 12:42 PM

PR 12-22

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022
                                                                                           CONTACT: Doug Johnson, 503-713-7658
                                                                                                                                            or 503-230-5131

Trespassers cut fence and damaged equipment at substation
in greater Portland area

Portland, Oregon – The Bonneville Power Administration is seeking tips about trespassing, vandalism and malicious damage of equipment at a substation in Clackamas, Oregon.  

“Someone clearly wanted to damage equipment and, possibly, cause a power outage,” said Transmission Vice President of Field Services John Lahti. “The damage and associated cleanup will cost Northwest ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. We were fortunate to avoid any power supply disruption, which would have jeopardized public safety, increased financial damages and presented challenges to the community on a holiday.”

The physical attack occurred in the early morning hours Thursday, Nov. 24. BPA was able to respond quickly and minimize the damage. BPA is actively cooperating with the FBI on this incident and has encouraged other utilities throughout the region to increase their vigilance and report any suspicious or similar activity to law enforcement. 

Any vandalism or attack on electric infrastructure is a serious crime and potentially puts the safety of the public and our workers at risk. 

“We’re asking the public – if you see something, say something. Report any suspicious activity around electric facilities to law enforcement,” Lahti said.

If you have any information related to this incident or other potential attacks or threats on electric infrastructure, please contact the FBI at 503-224-4181 or BPA’s Crime Witness hotline at 800-437-2744.

BPA builds redundancy into how it operates and manages the region’s federal high-voltage electrical grid, which provides flexibility if equipment fails or suffers damage and helps ensure BPA can continue to provide wholesale power to its utility customers. BPA continues to repair equipment that was damaged from the deliberate attack of its Clackamas substation. 

If you have information about illegal or suspicious activity on BPA property, call BPA’s 24-hour toll-free, confidential Crime Witness hotline at 800-437-2744. If you see illegal or suspicious activity happening in real time, first contact local law enforcement. For more details about the program, visit the Crime Witness website.

 

About BPA

The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a nonprofit federal power marketer that sells wholesale, carbon-free hydropower from 31 federal dams in the Columbia River Basin. It also markets the output of the region’s only nuclear plant. BPA delivers this power to more than 140 Northwest electric utilities, serving millions of consumers and businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA also owns and operates more than 15,000 circuit miles of high-voltage power lines and 261 substations, and provides transmission service to more than 300 customers. In all, BPA provides nearly a third of the power generated in the Northwest. To mitigate the impacts of the federal dams, BPA implements a fish and wildlife program that includes working with its partners to make the federal dams safer for fish passage. It also pursues cost-effective energy savings and operational solutions that help maintain safe, affordable, reliable electric power for the Northwest. www.bpa.gov

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Colleges & Universities
WSU Everett and Everett Community College launch Degree Partnership Program
WSU Everett - 12/07/22 10:40 AM

EVERETT, Wash. -- A new collaboration between Washington State University Everett and Everett Community College makes pursuing a bachelor’s degree more accessible and equitable. 

The Degree Partnership Program, the first of its kind in Washington state, enables students to attend classes concurrently at WSU Everett and EvCC, seamlessly transfer credits, combine credits for financial aid, and use facilities and services at both institutions. 

The agreement was signed Monday, Nov. 28, by WSU Everett Chancellor Paul Pitre and EvCC President Darrell Cain. 

“The DPP will allow students to focus on their academic and career goals and spend less time and money navigating the transfer pathway,” said Chancellor Pitre. “We have a shared commitment to student success. Our collaboration breaks down barriers, improves access, and makes the education continuum easier to navigate. It’s a win for our graduates and our community.”  

Students enrolled in the DPP receive automatic transcript updates to WSU Everett every term, access to advisors on both campuses, and transfer guidance. The DPP also covers financial aid for both institutions, and more credits are likely to transfer to new institutions. 

“EvCC is excited to partner with WSU Everett to expand equitable access to education for Trojans and Cougs,” said Cain. “By leveraging the resources of both colleges, students participating in the DPP will have comprehensive support from the start to help them reach their academic goals and prepare for successful careers.”

Research shows that transitioning from community college to a four-year institution can be financially and logistically complicated for students. Credit transfer is one of the biggest hurdles. Students typically lose about 40% of their credits when they transfer, the equivalent of a semester of full-time enrollment. The degree partnership program addresses this barrier with a joint application, specialized advising at both institutions, increased flexibility in scheduling, and access to libraries, computer labs, and student organizations on both campuses.

“I have been working toward this goal for quite some time,” said WSU Everett’s Director of Student Services, Anna McLeod. “The DPP is an intentional, supportive program that ensures students are engaged with WSU Everett advising, services, and student involvement while attending EvCC. It’s a seamless pathway for our students to pursue a bachelor’s degree. It’s exciting to know we are improving access to postsecondary education in Snohomish County!”

The WSU Everett/EvCC program is modeled after a successful DPP launched in 1998 between Oregon State University (OSU) and Linn-Benton Community College. A recent study shows that DPP-enrolled students take fewer credits, save money, avoid unnecessary student debt, and have higher GPAs and graduation rates than traditional transfer students. The program has since grown to include partnerships between OSU and more than 20 community colleges in Oregon and Hawai’i. 

Laurie Franklin, EvCC’s vice president of student services, worked in OSU’s Financial Aid and Scholarships Office in the earliest days of the DPP. “When the thoughts of how to serve more transfer students surfaced, the innovative and groundbreaking ideas came to fruition, and I didn’t realize the impact this model would have in the future,” she said. “Twenty five years later, it’s humbling to see how it changed and affected students’ lives, and I’m happy to see it being developed here between EvCC and WSU-E.”

The DPP will launch in Fall 2023 with the Business Administration and Hospitality Business Management programs. Both institutions’ faculty and student services are developing additional DPP curriculum pathways for cybersecurity, communication, and data analytics. 

“Transfer students should have the same access to bachelor’s degrees as traditional students,” said Alex Tadio, WSU Everett’s associate director of student services. “The DPP breaks down barriers by providing a seamless pathway to transition between our institutions.”

The signing occurred at the Snohomish County P-20 Council meeting held on the WSU Everett campus.

Learn more about the DPP, how to become a partner, and how to enroll.


State
King Co. School Districts
Two Upcoming Community Meetings for Proposed BSD/BPD Community Engagement Officer Program
Bellevue SD - 12/05/22 11:15 AM

Bellevue School District (BSD) families and community members are invited to share their feedback about the proposed Community Engagement Officer program with presentations by members of BSD Safety and Security and the Bellevue Police Department (BPD). Two upcoming in-person community meetings will take place as follows this week. 

 

Newport High School – Monday, December 5, 6:00-7:00 p.m. 

Newport High School Performing Arts Center, 4333 Factoria Blvd. SE, Bellevue, WA 98006.  

 

Bellevue High School – Wednesday, December 7, 6:30-7:30 p.m.  

Bellevue High School Performing Arts Center, 10416 SE Wolverine Way, Bellevue, WA 98004 

 

 Bellevue School District families and community members can complete the Community Engagement Officer Program survey which is available in the following languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Korean, Arabic. 

 

Background  

The partnership between BSD and BPD reaffirms the agreed commitment to build relationships with youth, staff members and the community to reinforce collaborative problem solving and promote a safe and inclusive learning community. 

Visit the Community Engagement Officer Program webpage to learn about the history of the program and its proposed changes, and to review frequently asked questions. 

The Bellevue School District, with over 18,000 students and 30 schools, is a diverse and dynamic district in East King County, Washington. Its mission is “To serve each and every student academically, socially, and emotionally, through a rigorous and relevant education that is innovative and individualized. As a learning community that values one another’s humanity, we provide courageous support for an equitable and exceptional education for all students.” 


Banks & Credit Unions
'Tis the Season: Fraudsters Ready to Target Holiday Shoppers (Photo)
Umpqua Bank - 12/05/22 9:09 AM
Kathryn Albright, Head of Global Payments & Deposits, Umpqua Bank
Kathryn Albright, Head of Global Payments & Deposits, Umpqua Bank
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2022-12/6798/159581/thumb_Kathryn_Albright.jpg

Tips on how to avoid popular scams

As the holiday season swings into full gear, shoppers need to maintain their vigilance in guarding against fraud. While consumers navigate the tighter budgets this year due to higher inflation, fraudsters are likely doing the same, and will be extra desperate – and motivated – to take advantage of the seasonal rush. 

Holiday fraud is a big business, and criminals stand to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit gains during the shopping season. Combined retail sales for November and December could top $960 billion, according to a forecast by the National Retail Federation (NRF), an industry trade group. Fraudsters will be tapping into this volume. 

Just for card payments alone, fraud rates in recent years have hovered around 7 cents per $100 of volume worldwide, according to the Nilson Report. By that measure, for every $100 billion in card volume during the holidays, thieves will siphon off $70 million. 

The gap between self-perception and reality

Consumer gullibility turbocharges the payday for fraudsters. Nearly half (48%) of consumers globally are confident they can recognize a scam, according to a 2022 fraud report by Visa Inc. Yet almost three in four (73%) typically respond to terms or phrases scammers commonly use in emails and text messages, such as “Win online gift card” and “Act now.”

The vulnerability of the general population is still high: 63% incorrectly believe or are unsure that online retailers such as Amazon and eBay will request login information to provide customer support, according to a November report by AARP. And 53% incorrectly believe or are unsure that payment apps such as Cash App, Zelle, or Venmo have the same consumer protections as credit cards. About 4 in 10 said they believe (incorrectly) that ads for merchandise on social media online are trustworthy. 

“Fraudsters are always working to outsmart consumers, but during the holidays, their fervor is especially acute,” says Kathryn Albright, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Payments and Deposits at Umpqua Bank. “Criminals exploit this time of year to prey on busy individuals who are pressed for time, luring them into traps and robbing them of their hard-earned money. But taking some simple precautions will help thwart these schemes.” 

Individuals need to be especially aware of common holiday tricks used by thieves, such as:

  • Gift card payment scams. Gift cards are a preferred method of choice for criminals, who convince consumers to pay a bogus financial obligation by purchasing gift cards and handing over the numbers to the fraudsters. Criminals also scam retailers by returning stolen merchandise to stores and receiving gift cards since they don’t have a receipt. They then sell those cards online at a discount. For the 12 months ended June 30, 74% of retailers reported this practice, according to the NRF. 
     
  • Charity scams. Fake charities use the holidays to lure victims to donate to bogus enterprises. They mimic real charities and often use terms such as “federal” or “national.” Criminals sometimes pose as religious leaders, preying on the generosity of others by telling a story about people in need. 
     
  • Non-delivery and non-payment crimes. In non-delivery scams, buyers pay for goods and services online, but never receive the items. For non-payment scams, it’s the merchants who are the victims, with goods and items shipped but are never paid. Losses for these two types of fraud amounted to $337 million in 2021, according to the Internet Crime and Complaint Center (IC3), a division of the FBI.

Tips to reduce the risk of fraud: 

  • Review your account activity regularly. Everyone should review personal financial accounts often for activity to make sure there aren’t any suspicious transactions. Consumers also should carry fewer cards in their wallets when they shop and store the others in a safe place at home.
     
  • Don't click on email links. Fraudsters are getting better at impersonating retailers. But even when it seems real, it’s better just to go to the website via a browser. Bad links take consumers to fake portals, which typically ask for credit card information. 
     
  • Don’t give out sensitive information. When you receive a call, email, or text from someone claiming to represent your bank, or another company, do not give them your user ID or password. No legitimate company will ever ask you for this information. 
     
  • Watch for key fraud terms. Consumers fall for a variety of phrases, according to a report by Visa, including “Win online gift card,” “Exclusive deal,” “Act now,” “Click here,” “Limited time offer,” “Urgent,” “Action needed,” and “Free/giveaway.” Be on the lookout and steer clear of any correspondence containing this messaging. 
     
  • Stay on top of deliveries. Almost 3 in 10 (27%) of consumers reported having a package stolen outside their door, according to a November fraud report by AARP. Consumers should track various items for delivery. When consumers won’t be at home, they should call the retailer or delivery service and try to delay the shipment or arrange to have it sent to an office or designated receiving location, such as Amazon Hub Locker.
     
  • Avoid clicking on ads. Malvertising is malicious advertising that often takes the form of pop-up ads. Similar to erroneous email links, these ads can lead you to sites that ask for personal information and credit card numbers. They can also infect your device with malware and make the season anything but merry.
     
  • Don't shop on public Wi-Fi networks. If you're shopping online, do it at home using your own private, secure network. Cybercriminals can easily tap into public Wi-Fi, so you don't want to input passwords and visit your bank account when browsing on these networks.
     
  • Use fraud alerts. Fraud alerts can be very helpful to consumers in staying on top of any suspicious activity regarding their accounts. Alerts can be tailored to transaction size, and are delivered via phone (voice), text, and email. Update any new contact information to keep accounts secure.
     
  • Use cards rather than payment apps. Cards offer more protections. Those using major brands offer $0 liability for unauthorized charges. Peer-to-peer apps such as Venmo, Zelle, and CashApp process payments immediately, just like cash. These transactions cannot be reversed. 
     
  • Use caution when buying gift cards. Don’t buy gift cards outside of retailers and established companies. Look to make sure the protective stickers on the card are not tampered with. Also check to see that the PIN number on the back isn’t showing. Keep your receipt, which will help identify the card in case it is stolen.

“The holidays can be a stressful time of year, but don’t let the pressures get in the way of common-sense shopping,” Albright says. “Taking the time to safeguard your shopping and payment information online and in person will go a long way toward preventing anguish, and real losses to your household budget.”

What do if you have been compromised: 

Take action immediately. Call the merchant and credit card bank to report the issue. For gift card scams, reporting to the retailer might help recoup the loss if the card hasn’t been used. 

Notify regulators and law enforcement. IC3 tracks internet crimes, and the Federal Trade Commission monitors gift card scams. It also helps your community to report an incident to the state attorney general and local law enforcement.   

 




Attached Media Files: Kathryn Albright, Head of Global Payments & Deposits, Umpqua Bank