Emergency Reports | News Releases | Participants
Sort by: Date | Category
Spokane/East. Wash/North Idaho News Releases for Fri. Sep. 24 - 2:52 pm
BPA aligns people and strategy functions to drive its culture and competitiveness
Bonneville Power Administration - 09/22/21 3:26 PM

PR 13-21                                                                                                      BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION
                                                            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021
                                                                                       CONTACT: Maryam Habibi, 503-230-4413
                                                                                                                                            or 503-230-5131

BPA aligns people and strategy functions to drive its culture and competitiveness 
New organization enhances strategic capabilities and workplace culture efforts


Portland, Ore. – The Bonneville Power Administration’s executive structure is changing. The realignment by Administrator and CEO John Hairston will strengthen the agency’s strategic capabilities and enhance its commitment to its workforce. 

The move recognizes ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic and concerns about workers’ mental health and wellbeing. It also comes as BPA prepares to refresh its agency strategy and negotiate new long-term wholesale power contracts with its public utility customers. 

“The Northwest depends on BPA to deliver reliable, affordable, carbon-free power every day. That job is only getting more and more complicated,” said Hairston. “It’s just good business to ensure we do all we can to attract and retain the best talent, and to provide a workplace that drives employee satisfaction and productivity. That’s the best way to ensure we succeed in performing our public service mission, meeting our responsibilities and providing excellent service to our customers.”   

Dan James, who joined BPA’s leadership team in 2016 as deputy administrator, will now direct the agency’s new Workforce and Strategy Office.

“Dan brings passion and compassion to our people and cultural awareness efforts, as well as a breadth of strategic planning experience,” said Hairston. “As our new chief workforce and strategy officer, he will ensure we’re effectively planning and executing our strategies and boosting our employee recruitment, retention and diversity and inclusion efforts.”

The realignment brings the agency’s people-related and strategy functions into the same executive portfolio and refocuses the deputy administrator role. BPA’s Workforce and Strategy Office will include the agency’s existing communications, human resources, and Civil Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity organizations. The agency will also add two new organizations:  

  • The new Technology Innovation and Strategy Office will bring together strategic planning, technology research and development programs. Staff in this new office will report to the deputy chief workforce and strategy officer, Shana Kuhn. Kuhn, who recently served as chief supply chain officer, was selected as the first deputy chief workforce and strategy officer.
  • The new Culture Office will focus on the agency’s culture strategy, employee engagement, and diversity and inclusion functions. The new organization will be overseen by a new chief culture officer.

“People and intellectual and social capital are all essential elements of BPA’s competitiveness,” said Chief Workforce and Strategy Officer Dan James. “I’m excited to lead this new organization and support our strategic and workplace goals to ensure BPA’s success in a fast-changing industry and dynamic job market.” 

Under the new structure, the agency’s government affairs and compliance, audit and risk functions will now report to the administrator.

BPA’s chief operating officer will continue to advise on mission operations and the chief administrative officer will continue to oversee the agency’s support and business services missions, including BPA’s industry leading Safety organization. The new organizational changes go into effect on Sept. 26.


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 



Attached Media Files: 2021-09/1236/148701/BPA-Organizational-Chart-Aug2021.pdf

Sureņos Gang Member Sentenced To 120 Months In Federal Prison For Brandishing A Firearm While Committing A Carjacking And Illegal Possession Of A Firearm
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 09/24/21 1:46 PM

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Orlando Raul Rodriguez, a/k/a “Toon,” age 31, of Yakima, Washington, was sentenced today after having pleaded guilty on June 22, 2021, of brandishing a firearm while committing a crime of violence and for illegal possession of a firearm. United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. sentenced Rodriguez to a 120-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 3-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison.


According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Rodriguez, a known member of the Sureños street gang, and three others lured the victim to a parking lot in downtown Yakima at approximately 9 a.m. on July 5, 2020. Rodriguez pointed a .22 caliber rifle at the victim and ordered the victim and his passenger out of the vehicle. Once the victim was out of the vehicle, one of Rodriguez’s accomplices drove the vehicle away with Rodriguez in the passenger seat. The victim and his passenger walked to a nearby business and called police. Officers from Yakima Police Department responded quickly and where able to locate and apprehend Rodriguez and his accomplices within an hour of the carjacking being reported.    


Acting United States Attorney Harrington said, “The lengthy sentence reflects our commitment to prosecute those who seek to commit violent crimes against members of our community.  The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington commends the law enforcement officers with the Yakima Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who investigated this case. Violent crime in our communities will not be tolerated.”



Yakima Police Department Chief Matt Murry said, “The partnership we share with federal law enforcement and this U.S. Attorney’s Office is invaluable.  This case and others like it that are working through the system are examples of the commitment to use every tool available to hold those who commit violence accountable. Make no mistake about it, if you choose to engage in violence we WILL investigate and prosecute you.” 


This case was investigated by the Yakima Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This case was prosecuted by Richard Burson and Todd Swenson, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.



Richland Man Extradited From Kazakhstan Pleads Guilty To Attempted Production Of Child Pornography
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 09/23/21 5:39 PM

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Trent Drexel Howard, age 50, of West Richland, Washington, pleaded guilty on September 23, 2021 pursuant to a plea agreement to one count of Attempted Production of Child Pornography.  In the plea agreement, Howard and the United States agreed to a sentence of 23 years in prison.  District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. will decide whether to accept the plea agreement during the sentencing hearing set for January 6, 2022.


According to court documents, beginning on or about March 2008 and continuing through April 2016, Howard knowingly attempted to use fourteen different children to take part in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct.  For years, Howard used cameras hidden in bathrooms and bedrooms of his residence, within the Eastern District of Washington, to capture video footage of the minor victims in nude and semi-nude states.  Federal agents discovered the video footage after execution of a search warrant authorizing the search of evidence of child pornography at Howard’s residence.  Agents seized over 100 electronic devices.  The investigation began, however, when Howard distributed over 168 suspected child pornography files to an undercover agent over a publicly accessible, Internet based, file-sharing network.  Forensic review of the seized devices led to the discovery of the hidden camera footage and later identification of at least fourteen minor victims.


According to court documents, Howard was working in Kazakhstan when federal agents executed the search warrant at his residence in Richland, Washington.  After learning of the investigation, Howard stayed in Kazakhstan and was eventually arrested by Kazakhstan authorities on September 12, 2019.  A Kazakh judge ordered Howard be detained pending an extradition request from the United States.  According to the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, Howard’s removal from Kazakhstan is the first extradition from that country by the United States.


Acting United States Attorney Harrington said the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington, said, “Production of child pornography is a despicable crime.  The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington will continue to aggressively prosecute those who exploit children.  I commend our state, local and federal law enforcement partners who investigated this case.” 


This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:


· Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;


· Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;


· Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;


· Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and


· Community awareness and educational programs.


For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."


This case was investigated by the Spokane Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes detectives from the Kennewick and Richland Police Departments, and the Moses Lake Police Department.  This case was prosecuted by Ann T. Wick, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.