Mountain View raises funds for Children’s Hospital

Every year students at Mountain View High School designate April as “Fine Arts Month,” filling the month with events and activities that raise money for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. This year the high school raised $16,000, bringing their total contribution to the hospital to $73,000.

Mountain View began the tradition in 1995 and is one of ten high schools in Oregon and Washington to have raised over $50,000 for the children’s organization. Fine Arts activities at the school include an art auction and fashion show, music performances by the jazz choir, band and choir, a student talent show and the Cougar Pageant, where 10 senior boys and girls compete for a school-wide title based on participation in school and community activities, talent, and the amount of money they have individually raised for Doernbecher.

“We’re very proud of our school’s tradition of raising money for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital,” explained Rick Plants, activities coordinator for Mountain View High. “Not only do students get to demonstrate their artistic talents, but they get to help out a good cause. It’s become a special and worthwhile series of events at our school.”

Local attorney delivers lecture on breach of trust and tribal litigation

At the 28th annual Federal Bar Association Indian Law Conference recently held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Howard Arnett of local law firm Karnopp Petersen delivered a lecture on tribal litigation relative to breach of trust at the federal level. Over 800 attorneys and tribal leaders attended the conference.

His familiarity with the issues involved is the result of his long-term legal representation of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. The Tribes are currently involved in two breach of trust litigations versus the U.S. Government, one regarding the McQuinn Strip timber salvage sale and the other the alleged mismanagement of tribal trust funds. Last June the U.S. Court of Claims awarded the Confederated Tribes $13.8 million for the timber salvage sale. In delivering his decision on that case, U.S. District Judge Robert Hodges stated that the Bureau of Indian Affairs mishandled “practically every phase” of the sale, held more than 10 years ago. In his presentation in Albuquerque, Arnett underscored the fact that this ruling clearly placed the burden of proof on the Federal government in breach of trust claims. “The fact that the BIA has incomplete records can’t be held against the tribes,” he told attendees at the conference. The Bush administration, however, is challenging the ruling that holds the Federal government accountable for poor record-keeping. Recently a similar claim from the Navajo nation was thrown out by the Supreme Court while one from the White Mountain Apache Tribes was affirmed. “Now,” Arnett says, “the Warms Springs tribes are waiting for the Bush administration to figure out its next move.”

Howard Arnett is a partner in Karnopp Petersen LLP, one of Bend’s largest law firms, specializing in corporate and business law, insurance defense, personal injury, real property, estate planning and probate, Indian affairs, natural resources and water law, land-use law and general litigation. For more information contact Karnopp Petersen LLP, 382-3011.

Lancair adds aerospace veteran to management team

April 25, 2003 – (Bend, OR) – The Lancair Company announced this week that Tom Bowen has joined the Oregon-based aircraft manufacturer as Vice President of Strategic Products.
A 20-year veteran of general aviation, Bowen has served in many roles including Chief Operating Officer, President, Vice President, Director, Manager and Senior Engineer for half a dozen prestigious GA and aerospace firms. Most recently, he served as Vice-President of Engineering at Mooney Airplane Company were he was responsible for the design certification and field support of the Mooney line of high performance, retractable gear, single engine piston aircraft. Tom has led or played critical roles in fifteen FAA Certification programs for companies like Learfan, OMAC, Swearingen, Sierra Industries and Mooney Airplane /Aircraft Corporation.
Bing Lantis, President & CEO of Lancair said, “We have known and respected Tom for several years. As Lancair continues to develop products and technology to lead the new generation of personal aircraft, we are confident that his contributions will be greatly appreciated by our customers. We look forward to his participation in our senior management team’s planning for the design of our future products.”
Bowen commented, “The Columbia aircraft are incredible products. Launched from a rock solid technical foundation, these are no-nonsense, top performing products with no limit to their potential and I feel fortunate for my chance to contribute to Lancair’s growth and to feed my performance passion.”
Based in Bend, Oregon, The Lancair Company manufactures the Lancair Columbia line of certified, high performance, composite aircraft. On its current track, The Lancair Company expects to deliver over 50 aircraft in 2003. By the end of the year, The Lancair Company will be delivering both normally aspirated Columbia 350s and turbocharged Columbia 400s on the Columbia production line.

Brooks Resources Realty hires new broker

Bend, Oregon – April 2003 – Brooks Resources Realty announces the hiring of Broker, Joanne McKee. McKee brings 4 years of real estate experience in Central Oregon to Brooks Resources Realty.

Before coming to Brooks Resources Realty, McKee worked for the Professional Realty Group and Remax. She is a Graduate of the Realtor’s Institute and an Accredited Buyers Representative. Prior to her career in real estate, McKee worked in the insurance industry.

An Oregon native, McKee has lived in Central Oregon for more than 20 years with her husband, two sons and two Golden Retrievers. In her spare time, McKee enjoys walking, China painting, and spending time with her family. McKee also regularly volunteers at the St. Charles Auxiliary Gift Shop.

Brooks Resources Realty is dedicated to offering Central Oregon’s finest homes, homesites, condominiums and townhomes in well-planned and aesthetically stunning neighborhoods. The Brooks Resources Realty sales team and full-time and professional marketing department ensure a steady stream of buyers looking for Bend’s finest properties. As members of the Multiple Listing Service, Brooks Resources Realty can provide information regarding any listed property in the area. For more information on current listings, visit our branch office located in Awbrey Village at 3052 NW Merchant Way, call 541-318-8002, toll free at 888-773-7553, or log onto http://www.brooksresources.com

Young orchestra featured at Central Oregon Symphony

Young orchestra students at Pilot Butte Middle School will have the chance to show off their talent to a sophisticated audience when they perform before the Central Oregon Symphony concert on May 17 and 18. The eighth graders will be performing in the lobby of the Bend High Auditorium before the concert begins.

They will perform a 30-minute program, starting at 6:45 on the Saturday, May 17, and at 2:15 on Sunday, May 18. Central Oregon Symphony concerts draw hundreds of people, and orchestra teacher Carol Kirkman is hoping concert-goers come early to hear these budding musicians.

“These students have worked hard to develop their talent. Someday they may be members of the Central Oregon Symphony or other performing orchestras,” she said. “I hope people who support orchestra will come to their pre-concert performance to encourage the students to keep engaged and involved with music.”

For more information about orchestra and band programs at Pilot Butte Middle School, contact Kirkman at 322-6260.

Westside Village garden gets helping hand

Westside Village, a kindergarten through eighth grade magnet school for the Bend-La Pine School District, has a school garden that has become part of the school’s curriculum and a neighborhood fixture. Not only do the students work in the school garden, located at Kingston School, but the neighbors often maintain the garden during the summer and share in the results.

The school garden will get a helping hand from the High Desert Oregon Convivium, a group that supports and promotes a “slow food” concept: using naturally grown foods of all sorts as a dietary staple rather than the convenience foods that abound in today’s society. The group will be working at the school garden on Wednesday, May 21, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.

“The students, teachers and parents have done a lot, but there are many tasks that remain to be done,” said Donna Minich, organizer of the event. “We’re hoping to complete the fence, build trellises and compost bins and maybe install a water feature. We want to support the school’s effort to teach children that food comes from the ground and their own hard work, and the effort to incorporate natural, home-grown foods into our every day menus.”

A “Pioneer Potluck” in the school cafeteria will follow the work party. In keeping with the school’s yearlong theme of Heritage, participants will be bringing dishes reminiscent of the pioneers. In addition, the group will provide an American Bronze turkey and sourdough pan bread prepared in pioneer fashion. The organization is looking for volunteers interested in helping in the garden and bringing examples of pioneer foods to the potluck. For more information on how you can participate contact Minich at 541-382-0673

Laurie Gould
Public Information Officer
Bend-La Pine Public Schools
383-6004

Gov’s Industrial Lands Taskforce to hold hearing in Bend tomorrow

(BEND) – The Governor’s Industrial Lands Taskforce will hold the third of five statewide hearings on industrial lands in Bend at 1:15 p.m. tomorrow, May 1. The Governor will attend the hearing and make remarks at 2:20.

The Governor established the Industrial Lands Taskforce to develop recommendations for the state’s new industrial lands policy. There will be time during the hearing for public comments and all interested members of the public are invited to attend. The taskforce will also accept written testimony.

WHAT: Industrial Lands Taskforce public hearing

DATE: Thursday, May 1, 2003

TIME: 1:15 to 4:15 p.m.

LOCATION: Deschutes Brewery Bottling Facility
901 SW Simpson Street
Bend

For more information, visit the “Rebuilding Oregon’s Economy” section of the Governor’s web site: http://www.governor.state.or.us/rebuild.htm

Two ‘Redmond 5’ co-defendants cite Link’s key role in Thomas slaying

Two of the four Redmond teens who pleaded guilty to their roles in the brutal beating and killing of Barbara Thomas in March 2001 ago took the stand Wednesday as prosecution witnesses at the last defendant’s murder trial, laying much of the blame for the events of that fateful day on 19-year-old Justin Link.

Lucretia Karle, who turned 18 after February’s guilty plea, and Ashley Summers, now 17, were subpoenaed by prosecutors to testify at the trial of Link. Agreements to testify at any future trials were part of the plea agreements reached with the victim’s son, Adam Thomas, now 20; and Seth Koch, now 17, who admitted firing the fatal rifle shot on March 26, 2001 at the Thomas home on the Old Bend-Redmond Highway.

Karle, wearing blue jeans, a white navel-baring blouse and leg and waist shackles, began her testimony speaking much as a typical teen would about how the five had gotten together, sprinkled with candid remarks about their alcohol and marijuana use at the time. But later, she stared at the table in the witness stand, barely making eye contact, as she talked in monotone fashion of the climactic, grisly sequence of events.

Link has waived his right to a jury trial, and his fate will be decided by Deschutes County Circuit Judge Alta Brady, at the end of a trial expected to last three to four weeks.

Under questioning by Deputy District Kandy Gies, Karle, who has begun serving a 25-year prison term at the state’s Hillcrest Youth Facility in Salem, explained her guilty plea: “I took responsibility for my actions in the murder of Barbara Thomas,” whose car the teens stole for a failed getaway to Canada, leading to their arrest at the border the following day.

She said she had gotten together with Thomas and Link days earlier because “I needed drug money, and wanted to go and buy drugs.” She talked of hanging out with the others at two Redmond motels during that spring break, and that the boys didn’t have alcohol – instead, “they were drinking cough syrup.”

“That was talk that the boys – Adam, Justin and Seth, were going to go to Canada,” Karle said. “They threw around the idea that pot was legal in Canada.”

Asked to go to Canada, teen says: `Sure’

Gies showed Karle a silver 9-mm handgun that she had seen at the motel, and the teen later told of sneaking out her window to get together with her friends, getting home early Sunday, the 25th, and going to sleep. She said the four “came to my house, in my room, waking me up. They asked me if I wanted to go to Canada, and I said, `Sure.’”

They spent the night at Haystack Reservoir, sleeping in the Cadillac that Koch had taken from his home without permission. The keys to that car became missing after the five teens arrived at the Thomas house to eat and clean up, and that prompted a search which Karle said turned into a trashing of the place – at Justin’s direction. They also found “hunting guns” at the home, she said, and threw a safe on the rocks outside to break it open.

When the keys didn’t turn up, Link “wasn’t very happy. He was kind of grouchy. … He snapped at everybody,” Karle said. And later, she recalled, he said “Barbara Thomas had to be killed because the house was turned upside down.” She said he told the four that “it didn’t look like” they had been searching for the car keys, then pulled out a kitchen drawer, turned it upside down and dumped the contents on the floor.

Link, who generally had stared at his notepad since the start of the trial, watched Karle throughout her testimony, and she glanced at him, but only occasionally.

Just one room didn’t get trashed – “Adam’s room,” she said. “Nobody really went into his room.”

A car with two boys and two girls pulled up in a bit, and one of the teens apparently got a pair of sandals that Link had, she said.

After they left, “we were sitting around the family room, and there was talk about, um, killing Barbara Thomas,” Karle recalled. It was the first time she’d heard that.

Minutes later, she said, Link handed her a gun. “First, he asked me if I could hold it,” she said. “Then, he told me that if somebody would come up the driveway and it not be him, to shoot them.”

“I told him I wasn’t going to shoot anybody,” she recalled. “He (Link) said, `You will if you have to.’ I said, `Whatever.’”

“I’d asked, `Who would come up the driveway?’ And he said, `Adam’s mom,’” Karle said.

Teens’ talk turns to methods of murder

Karle also said it was Link who had emptied two or three wine bottles in the kitchen sink, for use in clubbing the victim over the head. Karle said they were talking about “ways to kill Adam’s mom.”

“Do you remember whose idea it was?” the prosecutor asked. “Justin,” Karle replied. “He didn’t want to get in trouble for the house getting messed up.”

“He said Barbara was supposed to be hit over the head with the wine bottles,” she said.

“He, who?” Gies asked.

“Justin,” Karle replied, adding that Adam Thomas and Koch were the ones supposed to do it.”

Other ideas emerged, she said, as Adam mentioned setting the house on fire. “He mixed some gunpowder in a little thing, and we lit it on fire,” she said.

“There was an idea to inject her with bleach,” Karle said, adding that it was Summers’ idea.

“There was an idea to put her in the bathtub and electrocute her,” the teen said. Asked whose idea that was, Karle replied: “Mine.”

“It was said that if all else failed, they’d shoot her,” Karle said – and when Gies asked, “Who gave that idea?” she said, “Justin.”

Karle said everyone was involved in the discussion. Gies asked if anyone got up and said, “I don’t want any part of this?” “No,” Karle replied, her head slightly tilted, looking down.

Teen recounts fateful, deadly moments

Later, preparations were made for the bleach idea, and the electrocution as well, with heavy electrical cords and a hairdryer and radio plugged in. “I turned on the water, and I didn’t know how to plug up the bathtub, and Adam did it,” she said.

A bit later, Link went outside – but Karle said that was after the planning for a murder, as well as the steps to carry out that step. He had been outside 15 or 20 minutes when Barbara Thomas returned home. Her son and Koch “had gone back to their spots,” Karle said, while she and Summers went behind Adam’s bed in his room, able to look out the window.

When she entered, “she asked who was here,” Karle said. “She asked (Koch) where her son was.”

“How did she sound?” Gies said. “Scared,” Karle said. “She said, `What’s going on here?’ She kept asked where Adam was.”

Koch was first to hit her over the head, then her son. “Do you know how many times Barbara Thomas was hit?” the prosecutor asked. “No,” Karle said, as a woman in the courtroom’s second row broke into tears.

“She screamed and fell to the floor, and asked him to stop,” Karle said, asking, “Why are you doing this? And when she was on the ground, they were kicking her … Adam and Seth.”

The victim made it to the porch at one point, and Karle said she could hear all three boys talking. “She was asking for help,” but got none, Karle said.

And she said Link had asked, “Why isn’t she dead yet?” and, “Better get the gun.” Someone also said, “Get her back in the house.” Karle peeked around the corner and could see the woman on the ground, “in a bad condition. They said she was unconscious for a second.” (Later, after cross-examination, Karle said Koch or Adam Thomas later told her, as they drove toward Canada, that Link had said to “finish her off,” and she hadn’t heard that herself.)

Later, with Barbara Thomas back in the house, she saw the woman’s son pointing a rifle, and say: “Keep your eyes closed.”

“She said, `Don’t shoot me,’ and he said, `I won’t, if you keep your eyes closed,’” Karle recalled, in soft, monotone voice, her eyes downcast.

“Adam told Seth that he wouldn’t do it,” she said, so “Seth took the gun, aimed it and shot her. The gun went off.” She went out of the bedroom, and saw “Adam’s mom, laying on the floor.”

“Somehow, the door got opened, and I walked out, and there was Justin … out by the car,” Karle replied, recalling some of his words: “It’s all over.” But he also “said stuff I can’t remember,” she said.

Link played key role, teen says

Karle said she told Link she wasn’t going back in the house, so he said to start moving things from the Cadillac to the woman’s Honda. Others took items from the house, including alcohol and guns. Koch said the victim was lying on his jacket, “so Justin went in there and grabbed it.” The coat later was burned when the group stopped on the first part of their trip.

“Justin told Seth he’d done a good job by not leaving the shell” from the fatal bullet,” Karle said. “If the shell was released, the cops would be able to tell where the person was standing” when the shot was fired. (They later threw the shell over a cliff, she said.)

Link wanted Adam Thomas to drive, but “he couldn’t drive because he was crying, so Justin drove,” Karle said. And she said Justin said something about Koch being “like a brother” to him, “because he shot somebody and killed them. … I observed it as a compliment.”

Later Wednesday, prosecutor Gies asked Karle what mood Justin was in that day, more specifically when he said “Barbara Thomas had to be killed.” She replied that he “had a weird look to himself – not his normal look.”

Defense lawyer Thomas Howes objected when Gies asked, “Who was in control at Barbara Thomas’s house?” Brady sustained the objection, so instead, the prosecutor asked who said which plans for the murder would work or not work. “Justin,” Karle answered.

Howes asked in his final cross-examination what Karle’s mood had been that day. “Pretty lazy,” due to lack of sleep, she said. “Later, when you were making plans” to kill Barbara Thomas? “Quiet. Scared,” Karle said. And later, after the murder? “Scared,” she repeated.

“Were you scared of Adam?” Howes asked. “Everybody,” Karle said. Asked of the others’ moods, she didn’t know, regarding Summers, but used one word to describe the victim’s son and Seth Koch: “Rage.”

Second teen also points finger of blame

Summers then took the stand Wednesday afternoon, and gave a similar reason for why she had pleaded guilty: “Because I had a part in it (the killing).”

In comments echoing her post-sentencing interview with bend.com/the Bend Bugle (bendbugle.com/?p=8026), Summers said she ran away from home a day before the murder because “I wanted to party all the time. I didn’t want to live by my dad’s rules.”

As for the crucial discussion at the Thomas home, Gies asked, “Who was it who stated, we’re going to have to kill Barbara Thomas?” Summers said Link had said that “tying her up and knocking her out wasn’t going to work,” if they wanted to get her car.

“Who was it who suggested that she needed to be killed?” Gies repeated. “Justin,” Summers replied. “Did he say how?” the prosecutor asked. “I don’t think so,” the teen responded.

“Justin at some point said he couldn’t be seen in the house,” and would leave, but didn’t say why, according to Summers. While Karle said Link emptied the wine bottles, Summers said “the boys” did so, and that Koch brought extension cords in from the garage for use in the electrocution scheme.

Summers told basically the same story of the attack after Barbara Thomas returned home. He said Koch handed the victim’s son a rifle he’d taken out of the Cadillac’s trunk. Like Karle, she said Adam had motioned for the two girls to come out of his bedroom, but that they shook their head now.

When Koch took the gun and aimed through the rifle scope, “I put my head down,” Summers said. “I know I heard it go off.” Summers said Karle immediately ran out of the house, and she followed, seeing Link “standing out by the trees, beyond the porch.”

Other elements came out in Summers’ testimony – for example, how they all had tried to call in and activate a credit card stolen from the Thomas home, to no avail, during their trip north.

The teens “at first were really quiet, Summers said Koch later “said he was a heartless bastard,” presumably a comment to Link. “Justin said, `I’m sorry you girls had to see that,’ and Adam and Seth said they were sorry.” As for the fact they were wanted now, “someone said shoot the cops,” Summers said, and Koch said if they were stopped, he would race away, then come to a fast stop, and “anyone who wanted to live could get out of the car.”

Defense attorney Cindy Spencer asked what Summers knew of the relationship between Karle and Adam Thomas. “They were what we call `friends with benefits’ – sleeping together, making out with each other,” she said. And she said they even wanted to get married, after they were arrested.

But during the cross-examination, Summers also gave a differing view on Link’s role in the discussions: “Justin talked a little before he left, but he wasn’t involved for most of it.”

Summers said she talked to Link one of his calls from a cell phone as he walked around on the property.

“I just told him I was scared,” she recalled. Asked by Spencer why she didn’t leave, Summers said, “I wasn’t scared of Justin. I was scared of Adam and Seth. … If Adam was going to kill his mom, why wouldn’t he kill someone he didn’t even know?”

Also, while Karle and Summers had both been hiding in Adam’s bedroom, Summers – unlike Karle – said she couldn’t hear what was going on when Barbara Thomas made it out to the porch.

On her redirect questions, prosecutor Gies got Summers to repeat that Link was the first person to say the woman had to be killed. “As far as I know, it was Justin,” she said. “Then everybody else got into it.”

“Who was the guy in charge, telling people what to do?” Gies said, a question to which Spencer objected, arguing it was “beyond the scope” of Summers’ knowledge. Brady overruled the objection, so Summers answered the question: “Justin.”

During final questioning by defense lawyer Spencer, Summers acknowledged that at first she had thought the talk of killing Barbara Thomas was a joke. But when it continued, after the visitors left the home, “That’s when I began to get scared, and realized they weren’t kidding any more.”

AG files actions against two internet retailers

Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed court actions in Marion and Lane County Circuit Courts against two mid-Willamette Valley Internet retailers as part of “Operation Bidder Beware,” a law enforcement sweep of Internet auction scams coordinated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in conjunction with the National Association of Attorneys General.

“Our consumer protection office has experienced a `spike’ in Internet auction complaints in the last two years with that category jumping from number six to four on the Top 10 Consumer Complaint List,” Myers said. “Nationally, auction fraud is the single largest category of Internet-related complaints and combating this large of a problem on the Internet can only be done by using a law enforcement team approach.”
“State Attorneys General partnering with all jurisdictions of law enforcement from the Pacific to the Atlantic has proven to be the most effective defensive vehicle to use on the super highway,” Myers explained.

Named in Assurances of Voluntary Compliance filed today in Salem and Eugene, respectively, are Terry James Harris of Keizer and Brienne Wait of Eugene, both of whom sold computers and electronic items through Internet auction sites. Neither assurance admits violation of law.
Oregon Department of Justice investigators found that Harris had sold video/electronic equipment through eBay to four consumers and then failed to deliver the goods or provide refunds upon request by consumers. Consumer losses ranged between $75 and $2,960.

Harris agrees to within the next 270 days, provide $4,000 in total refunds to consumers who did not receive merchandise or who received merchandise other than what they ordered and provide proof of refunds to Justice. If Harris complies with all the provisions in the agreement, Justice will suspend a $2,500 payment to the Consumer Protection and Education fund.
At least 25 consumer complaints were filed against Brienne Wait for selling computers and electronic equipment via Internet auctions and failing to deliver any goods or provide refunds. Justice investigators and Eugene Police Department officers investigated Wait for civil and criminal violations, respectively. Wait opted to sign a civil agreement with the Attorney General’s office in lieu of facing criminal charges.

Under her agreement, Wait has 180 days to make refunds and must refrain from any Internet commerce until the conditions in the assurance are satisfied. Justice will wave all but $500 of a $5,000 deposit to the Consumer Protection and Education fund if she adheres to all terms of the agreement.

Attorney General Myers also announced an earlier filing of a third Assurance of Voluntary in Union County Circuit Court against Larry Stevens of LaGrande and his business Xanadu Systems, Inc. for selling computers via Internet auctions and failing to deliver the goods to consumers and selling used goods as new.

Justice investigated 37 complaints against Stevens in cooperation with the LaGrande Police Department. Stevens signed the Justice assurance, agreeing to repay victims and be permanently enjoined from selling on the Internet. Stevens also was arrested on charges of Theft by Deception and Identity Theft and later plead guilty to the ID Theft charge and was extradited to Idaho for probation violation.
As part of the Internet Auction Fraud Sweep, the FTC and 28 state attorneys general filed over 55 criminal and civil cases. Joining the FTC and Oregon are attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin and members of California’s Computer and Technology Crime High Tech Response Team, including the San Diego District Attorney, San Diego City Attorney, Orange County District Attorney and Orange Police Department.
Consumers wanting to reduce the risk of being a victim of Internet auction fraud can do the following:

• Know the auction site. Find out what protections the auction site offers buyers and don’t assume all sites’ rules are the same.
• Before bidding, check out the seller. Avoid sellers that you can’t easily identify, especially those who try to lure you off the auction site with promises of a better deal.
• Watch out for escrow or online payment services that you’ve never heard of. Check them out by visiting their websites and calling their customer service lines. If you can’t find either, don’t use them.
• Protect your privacy. Don’t provide personal financial information such as credit card or bank account numbers or Social Security or driver’s license numbers until you’ve checked them out.
• Save all transaction information.
• If you are having problems with a transaction, complain to the seller, buyer or site operator. If that doesn’t work, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office and the FTC.

Consumers wanting more information on consumer protection and Internet Auctions can call the Attorney General’s consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. The Federal Trade Commission toll-free number is 1-877-382-4357. Justice is online at http://www.doj.state.or.us and the FTC is online at http://www.ftc.gov Both have booklets on Internet Auction Buying.

Student credit card debt reaching epidemic rate

Portland, OR/DuPont, WA – April 30, 2003 – With over 80 percent of adults
ages 18 to 20 having at least one credit card, creditors target high school
and college students through email and even on campus. Student credit cards
are big business. The average undergraduate carries over $3,000 in credit
card debt – separate from any student loans. In response, your Better
Business Bureau Education Alliance provides A Guide to Understanding Credit
through the Better Business Bureau Young Consumers Program.

The goal of the Young Consumers Program is to educate and increase awareness
among teens and young adults on topics like Understanding Credit, Renting
Your First Apartment, Buying Your First Car, and Living On Your Own
(budgeting and getting your first job). The Young Consumers Program offers
free brochures and seminars on the above topics.

“Ultimately, our educational information will help build a successful future
for our youth,” said Robert W.G. Andrew, President/CEO of the BBB serving
Oregon and Western Washington.

The Better Business Bureau Education Alliance suggests covering the
following topics with the young adults in your family:
* Understand the rules; credit is convenient, but be aware of
how many things having a good or bad credit report affects
* Terminology associated with credit; APR rate, credit bureau,
credit limit, finance charge, grace period, minimum payment, and payment
holiday
* Keep your credit history clean; always make your payment on
time, never spend more than you have, limit yourself to one credit card
only, try to make more than the minimum payment due
* Types of credit; bank issued credit cards, secured credit
cards, retail store credit cars, and a loan
Always obtain a Reliability Report for any company you would like to use.
These reports and lists can be accessed 24 hours a day online or through our
automated phone system at 503-226-3981 in Oregon, 206-431-2222 in
Washington, or through our web site www.thebbb.org .
Bureau operators are available between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday through
Friday.

ABOUT THE BBB EDUCATION ALLIANCE
The BBB Education Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to
educating consumers on a variety of marketplace issues. The BBB Education
Alliance’s mission is to empower consumers in Oregon and Western Washington
to be confident and proactive by providing education, information and
resources on marketplace issues. For more information on the programs,
services and products provided by the BBB Education Alliance and the BBB
call (503) 972-4455 in Oregon or (206) 676-4195, (253) 830-2955 in
Washington.