News Briefs

The National Weather Service is predicting heavy rains and wind gusts that could lead to downed trees and power outages in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington.

ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton said road crews are at the ready.

"All of the maintenance people are on standby this weekend. The traffic management operations center is going to be on full alert, and we've got all of our hydrology people standing up and ready to go this weekend to address any problems on the roads that are going to be out there," Hamilton said.

SALEM — The U.S. Coast Guard on Friday approved a new bridge carrying Interstate 5 over the Columbia River and extending Portland's light-rail system into Vancouver, Wash.

The decision removes a big barrier for the project and gives a boost to Oregon interests who want to build it without funding from Washington state. Still, its future remains in doubt as Oregon lawmakers debate the wisdom of going it alone after the Washington Legislature refused to put up any money.

At 116 feet, the proposed replacement bridge would be lower than the existing span, which lifts to accommodate taller river traffic. Oregon has agreed to pay nearly $90 million to three upriver businesses that may not be able to get some of their products under the lower span.

The captain of a United Airlines flight died hours after his apparent heart attack in midair forced the craft he was piloting to make an emergency landing in Boise, Idaho, officials said Friday.

The pilot, whose name has not been released, was alive when he taken from the plane, but died overnight at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, spokeswoman Jennifer Krajnik said.

"I am sad to confirm that our co-worker passed away last night. Our thoughts are with his family at this time," United spokeswoman Christen David wrote in an email.

United Flight 1603 from Houston to Seattle diverted to Boise about 8 p.m. when the pilot suffered what officials said was an apparent heart attack. The official cause of death is still pending, Krajnik said.

The Boeing 737-900 had 161 passengers and a crew of six on board. No injuries were reported in connection with the incident.

Compiled from wire reports

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