Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Voluntary quarantine at Spokane Humane Society after parvo, feline distemper found

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Don't worry — these two kittens didn't contract feline distemper, but young cats are very susceptible to the disease if they haven't been vaccinated yet. - CHEY SCOTT
  • Chey Scott
  • Don't worry — these two kittens didn't contract feline distemper, but young cats are very susceptible to the disease if they haven't been vaccinated yet.

Staff at the Spokane Humane Society have, out of caution, instituted a two-week quarantine of the shelter's facilities after parvovirus and feline distemper were positively identified in two animals there.

The highly contagious and often deadly viruses have increasingly been noticed by staff in animals surrendered to the shelter in recent weeks. As such, Spokane Humane Society Executive Director Dave Richardson is urging the public to vaccinate their pets against the preventable diseases.

He expects the shelter could remain closed to the public — affecting all adoptions and intakes — until Nov. 1.

A 1-year-old dog recently tested positive for parvo, while a 5-month-old kitten was found to have contracted feline distemper. No other animals so far seem to have contracted either virus, Richardson says, but closing the shelter to the public allows for staff to prevent further spread of both diseases.  

While the quarantine is in effect, shelter staff are closely monitoring the health of the 142 animals in its care, as well as working to thoroughly disinfect the facility. 

"Fortunately or unfortunately, the sanitation measures we do address both [parvo and feline distemper]," Richardson says. "We are definitely concerned about the animals, and that is our number one focus right now."

Dogs and cats cared for by SHS are vaccinated against both viruses as they come into the shelter's care, which means those animals should be protected. 

Parvovirus rapidly attacks the white blood cells and intestinal tract. Puppies are often at the highest risk because the vaccination series against parvo isn't administered until 6-8 weeks of age, followed by four-week boosters until 16-20 weeks and again at one year. 

Feline distemper, or the feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), is also incredibly contagious and life-threatening. It attacks cats' bodies in a similar manner as parvo, and while the two are related viruses, neither can be transmitted to humans or between other species. Again, kittens are at the highest risk before vaccination age of around six weeks.   

Richardson says the parvovirus is "everywhere," meaning all dogs are at risk of exposure in any public place. Thus he stresses the importance of making sure dogs are up to date on their vaccines. People with young puppies that haven't completed the full vaccine regimen shouldn't be taking their dogs to public areas, like dog parks, where the disease can be easily spread through feces. Since parvo has been identified at the shelter, that means it's spreading elsewhere in the community, Richardson cautions. 

"We're definitely screaming vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate," he says. "Vaccines are so simple, and it goes beyond the value of just your own pets."

Anyone who's adopted a pet from the Spokane Humane Society on or after Sept. 29 is being asked to closely monitor their animals for any symptoms of the viruses. The shelter encourages owners of pets adopted during that time to be examined by a veterinarian for the remote chance they could have been exposed to parvo or feline distemper while at the shelter. Both viruses can survive for an extended period on many surfaces, even in the cleanest conditions.

Both viruses cause similar symptoms, like vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration, lethargy, depression, diarrhea or discolored, odd-smelling feces.  

This is the first time the Spokane Humane Society has voluntarily enacted a quarantine at the shelter, although both viruses have been identified and successfully contained in past incidents. 

"We work hard to keep things clean and not overcrowded, and that helps the overall health of the herd. We're just defaulting in the favor of safety," Richardson says. 

For anyone looking to surrender an animal during the quarantine period, SHS has put together a brochure on alternative re-homing methods. 

As staff work to fully disinfect the building and the animal enclosures, Richardson says those interested in helping can donate bleach, long-handled scrub brushes and rubber shoe booties. While the shelter remains closed to the public and volunteers, he adds there are some dogs available for adoption at SHS's Everyday Adoption Center inside PetSmart at the Northpointe Plaza.

Disclosure: The author, Chey Scott, is an active volunteer at the Spokane Humane Society. 

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WEED WEDNESDAY: Local stores' sales and Neil Young's trick to avoid paranoia

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 1:52 PM


Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at

The state continues to license growers, processors and retailers — though still not as many as Colorado. The Liquor Control Board is also now releasing sales data by license number, so we can see how businesses around here are doing. Below is a breakdown of each of the five stores operating in Spokane County, with how much they've sold and, in parenthesis, how much they've paid or owe in excise taxes to the state. Unsurprisingly, the stores that opened first have done the best. (As a comparison, Seattle's first store has sold $1,321,427 of product so far, about $320,000 more than Spokane's first shop.)

Green Leaf: $1,001,855 ($250,463)

Satori: $392,528 ($98,132)

Sativa Sisters: $335,641 ($83,911)

Green Star: $165,222 ($41,305)

Greenlight: $27,537 ($6,884)

Statewide, marijuana stores have sold just under $24 million worth of pot, generating almost $6 million in excise taxes. More about where all that money will go here.

Find all the stores in our area on the map here.

A commenter last week suggested we do a story on responsible cannabis use, especially in hotels, where it's often not allowed and the smell can stick around a room. There's definitely more we could talk about here, but for now, check out our marijuana issue from this summer, where we gave some advice on how to get high without being a jerk. And remember, hotels have extra cleaning fees and they're not afraid to charge them. Know what's allowed and where. (If you're visiting Spokane or Seattle and looking for a cannabis-friendly place to stay, check out this site.)

In Airway Heights, neighbors tell KXLY they're upset about a grow operation that may soon open in the area. (One note on the linked story: I-502 passed in 2012, not 2013, though implementation didn't really begin until this year.)

The Seattle Times has the story of a woman from Chicago who moved all the way to Washington to make marijuana-infused simple syrups with flavors like coffee, chicory and strawberry.

A 24-year-old in Missoula was arrested for causing an explosion in a University of Montana student apartment building, which police say was caused by a hash oil-making operation, reports KPAX. (Making hash oil, which gets you super high, involves the dangerous process of filtering butane through marijuana and then heating the resulting product to remove the butane.) Meanwhile, the Denver City Council is trying to regulate home hash operations (Denver Post).

President Obama's top pick to head the civil rights division of the Department of Justice has said she supports decriminalizing marijuana, reports the Washington Post. This could signal a big shift in how the department views marijuana.

Rolling Stone has a list of 12 things they learned from Neil Young's recent interview with Howard Stern, but there's really only one you need to know: Neil Young's trick to avoiding pot-induced paranoia. "Try black pepper balls if you get paranoid," he told Stern. "Just chew two or three pieces. I just found this out myself. Try it."

Snoop Dogg (Lion?) is getting more and more vocal about his support of legalization and pro-legalization candidates. The Cannabist asks, "Is Snoop Dogg hip-hop's retort to the Koch Brothers?"

The Italian army is going to start growing marijuana to keep prices down for it's medical marijuana program. (Reuters)

Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant was on the Colbert Report last week, where he handed Stephen Colbert a joint. “For the purposes of my lawyer and my network, this is a cigarette,” Colbert said with a surprised smile.

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MORNING BRIEFING: Ebola continues, same-sex marriage licenses in Idaho, HBO's big announcement

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 9:21 AM


Spokane police have arrested six people in connection with a string of as many as 18 residential and 18 garage burglaries over the last month. (KXLY)

Pay no attention to those war planes flying over Spokane, they’re just training. (S-R)

The Spokane City Council prioritizes WSU med school over UW's on a new legislative agenda, which will be announced at a press conference today. (INLANDER)

Starting this morning, people can obtain same-sex marriage licenses in Bonner County. (CdAP)

The Ebola virus has infected another Texas hospital worker, and this person flew from Cleveland to Dallas one day before reporting symptoms. (CNN)

Stocks plunge in early morning trading (we’re talking within half an hour, the Dow had shifted more than 600 points) amid global worry and retail slumping. (WaPo)

HBO has announced that sometime in the next year it will sell a web-only offering. This means you don’t have to pay for those other 100 cable channels just to watch it. (RECODE)
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spokane City Council prioritizes WSU med school over UW's on legislative agenda

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 5:08 PM

In a proposed legislative agenda to be announced at a press conference tomorrow, the Spokane City Council plans to push legislative funding for both WSU's proposed new medical school and UW's proposal for more "WWAMI" medical school slots in Spokane. 
WSU Spokane's recently constructed health sciences building on the Riverpoint campus near downtown Spokane. - WSU-SPOKANE
  • WSU-Spokane
  • WSU Spokane's recently constructed health sciences building on the Riverpoint campus near downtown Spokane.

But, if the legislative agenda is approved by council, Spokane would push WSU's proposal a little harder.
Under the “Top Priorities” section, the Spokane City Council agenda only lists three items: Money to clean up the river, a transportation package that includes, among other things, funds to finish the North Spokane Corridor, and “WSU Medical School Start-Up Funds: Secure $2.5 million dollars to begin accreditation process for a new WSU Medical School located in Spokane’s University District.”

It’s only under “Additional Specific Priorities” that “support for expansion of the University of Washington’s WWAMI program in Spokane” is listed, right under “support for further regulation of studded tires.”

It is, Councilmember Jon Snyder says, a recognition of the extra emphasis the Spokane City Council gives to WSU's proposal. 

"The reason WSU rises a little higher as a priority is because what they’re offering is something different,” Snyder says. “I would have a hard time telling one of my constituents that [Spokane’s] first new medical school ever would have less of an impact than expanded [medical school seats.]”

Council President Ben Stuckart echoes that reasoning. “I think a majority of council is very supportive of both WWAMI and WSU,” Stuckart says. “But life is about prioritization, and if I had to choose one or the other, I’d much rather have a medical school more so than more WWAMI slots."

In terms of research dollars, prestige, and economic impact, Stuckart just believes that WSU promises a bigger bang. That said, he praises the direction UW is going, and would prefer having both expand.  

“I think they’re becoming a bigger partner. I think they’re getting there,” Stuckart says. “I’d love to see Spokane, rather than fighting every year for an increase in slots, have two institutions fighting over Spokane." 

On Monday evening, the council will vote on the proposed legislative agenda, after hearing from all of you, of course. “In the past nobody has paid attention to our legislative agenda,” Snyder says. “So we’re asking people if they have opinions or concerns or support to come down and let us know.” 

Of course, ultimately, it's the Legislature, not the Spokane City Council, that will make the final funding decision. But in a tough budgetary environment, every little bit of local support helps and every loss of support hurts.

UW has continued to push for community support from Spokane. Today, it took out a full-page ad in the Spokesman-Review featuring a letter from UW president Michael Young:


To the Spokane Community:

There’s been a great deal of public discussion recently about medical education as a means of solving Washington’s physician shortage and growing the region’s economy. With our 40-year history of partnering in community-based health education in the Spokane region, we’d like to underscore our commitment to Spokane’s medical students and the community as we work toward growing the UW program and achieving the most efficient, highest-impact, sustainable solution.

Leaders from the University of Washington, Washington State University and the Spokane community met last summer to develop a clear and collaborative path forward to expand medical education and research in Spokane. Each University shared different perspectives on how best to meet the economic and workforce needs. UW Regent Orin Smith and I were enthused and encouraged about the opportunity. We advocated for a united vision, a “mega-brand” partnership that would immediately further expand the four-year medical school in Spokane and fully capture the highest economic value. The plan aligned and built on the $1.6 billion vision developed by Tripp Umbach and championed by the Spokane business community in 2010. We were grateful to have community leaders participate, to encourage us to “think outside the box” and challenge our respective positions.

At our final meeting, WSU leaders confirmed that their priority, first and foremost, is to create an independent, startup medical school. That led to the agreement to dissolve our WWAMI partnership and the recent signing of an initial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). While this wasn’t the outcome we hoped for, we respect WSU’s choice.

Looking forward, we believe this decision has presented a new opportunity for the UW School of Medicine and Spokane. The cornerstone and attraction of the UW’s WWAMI program is that it provides the No.1 primary care, family medicine and rural medicine education programs in the country to local communities across the region. We’re committed to maintaining this standard of excellence for our students and eastern Washington.

Our vision is to grow by doubling the UW School of Medicine class size in Spokane and to expand our community-based program into a four-year medical school that includes research, in collaboration with community, health care and academic partners. We will continue to establish new residency programs in eastern Washington, the key to more physicians working in this region. This strategy will create the most timely, efficient, cost-effective and high-impact approach to solving the state’s physician demands. Additionally, it will generate immediate, significant economic impacts for the Spokane region without unnecessary duplication of taxpayer costs.

Securing funding for this initiative is a top legislative priority during the next legislative session in Olympia. We will ask the state legislature for funding and have already submitted our 2015–17 budget request to the Governor.

We thank Spokane and each and every medical and community partner who has collaborated with the UW over the past 40 years in this region. We remain 100 percent committed to the success of Spokane’s UW medical students and to the region’s health care needs today and in the future. For additional information on the MOU signed recently, and for ongoing updates about our plans for expansion in Spokane, I encourage you to visit our website:

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General Election Voters' Pamphlets going out this week

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 12:30 PM


Throughout this week, the pamphlet for the Nov. 4 General Election finds its way to 3.2 million households all over the state of Washington to help you become the most informed voter you can be. 

According to the Washington Constitution, every household is required to receive a pamphlet, and to make it more accessible, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, and audio, plain text and Word document versions are available. 

Initiatives on the ballot this fall include: 
- Initiative 1351, an effort to lower class sizes in public schools 
- Initiative 591, which would loosen gun control
- Initiative 594, which would tighten gun control

The pamphlet features more in-depth information about these initiatives in addition to background on state candidates.

Keep an eye on your mailbox, and if you don't receive you pamphlet by Oct. 22, call the Voter Hotline at (800) 448-4881, email, or stop by your local post office, long-term care center, disability service center or library where additional copies are available.  
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Spokane Valley's Ed Pace: STA should ask STA Plaza people about the STA Plaza

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 11:14 AM

With the widespread support for the Spokane Transit Authority Plaza on the STA Board, it’s unlikely the Plaza will be moved any time soon, despite the concerns from local businesses that some Plaza patrons were negatively impacting downtown.

As the Plaza heads toward a $5.8 million rehab, however, the long-time community debate about the Plaza’s impact on the community has come to a head. The decision to move forward with the rehab was delayed in July to give business groups like the Downtown Spokane Partnership more opportunity to raise their concerns. But while Spokane Valley City Councilman Ed Pace, a member of the STA board, supports the renovations and the delay, he’s critical of the STA for one thing: Not directly including the bus-riders, loiterers and the homeless in those discussions.

Spokane Valley City Councilman Ed Pace
  • Spokane Valley City Councilman Ed Pace

“The STA should have taken the initiative to reach out to all the stakeholders,” Pace says. “[Including] the bus-riders and the street people.”

After all, the controversy around the Plaza, he says, is about those people.

“Nobody really says it, but they talk about ‘elements’ — shadow language that hides what their real concern is.”

Nobody questions that Pace, a former Hewlett Packard product manager and a semi-retired Lutheran minister, is deeply conservative. After all, he’s campaigned for Matt Shea for the legislature, and won his own council seat by accusing an incumbent council member for straying in small ways from conservative positions.

But while conservatives sometimes get stereotyped as caring more about big business than the poor, Pace says his position on listening to the Plaza patrons is completely consistent with his conservative values.

“I'm all about truth, justice, freedom, liberty. You can't discriminate against people because of who they are if you want to have truth, justice, freedom, liberty,” Pace says. “They are citizens, too, just as much as you and me. We might not like everything they do, but they’re still citizens… They are on public property. They have the right to be there.”

Some, like DSP’s Mark Richard, say the problems come from those who don’t ride the bus. But Pace feels this is missing the point.

“People ride buses, not businesses,” Pace says.  “People pay sales taxes, not business organizations, and sales tax is what funds STA. People pay bus fares. It's all about people. You can't divide them up by bus-riders and non-bus-riders.”

He suggests an outreach program to connect with the Plaza population, to ask them what they want and need. He doesn't, however, think he would be a good candidate.

“In order to reach out to them, it's not going to be a 67-year-old with a beard that's going to walk down there to connect with them,” he says. He doesn’t buy the idea that they wouldn’t care about changes to the Plaza.

STA Board chair Amber Waldrer says the conversations with business groups has been specifically tailored to business groups because they were the ones that requested those conversations.

"We welcome any input from any organization," Waldref says. "We're taking comments from anybody that wants to give us comments on the STA plaza redesign."

She says she's already been flooded with emails from bus-riders pleading with STA not to move the Plaza. STA plans to hold a public forum on Nov. 6 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the Plaza. The main focus will be to get feedback from riders over route and budgetary details, and the “Moving Forward” plan for STA’s future. Waldref says it would be a good idea to get community feedback about the Plaza design during that forum.

There’s another interesting piece of Pace’s philosophy here, however. Pace is from Spokane Valley, which doesn’t have much in the way of a downtown. But downtown is something Pace has a special affection for. It’s part of the character of a city.

Pace uses the word “scummy” to describes downtowns across the nation, but doesn’t mean that in an insulting way. He sees the scumminess of downtowns are part of their appeal. They’re real and gritty.

“Downtown is downtown, people pee on the sidewalks,” Pace says. “People drink on the sidewalks. People get drunk and puke on the sidewalks. That's life. If you want to be downtown, you live with downtown.”

He’s experienced that personally.

“Back in the late '60s, early '70s, I had the opportunity to hang out in New York City a lot. Manhattan. That was when Canal Street was really scummy. Broadway was really scummy,” Pace says. “I was young and crazy and I loved it.”

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The Pakootas for Congress campaign launches its first TV ad

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 9:45 AM

A screenshot of the Pakootas campaign's new TV commercial - PAKOOTAS FOR CONGRESS
  • Pakootas for Congress
  • A screenshot of the Pakootas campaign's new TV commercial

Fifth district congressional candidate Joe Pakootas released his first campaign commercial yesterday.

The 30-second spot features a narrator commending Pakootas' support of "equal pay for equal work" and his belief that women's healthcare decisions "should be made between a woman and her doctor — not a woman and her boss." The ad is bookended by personal endorsements from Heather Foley, wife of former 5th district congressman and Speaker of the House Tom Foley.  

No surprise here: Campaign manager Susan Brudnicki says the ad was designed specifically to target women voters. It debuted on network channels yesterday and airs on cable today. You can catch it during commercial breaks for the Today show, Ellen DeGeneres, Live with Kelly and Michael, and network news.

Pakootas, a Democrat, is vying for Republican incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' seat. He's been vastly outraised by the congresswoman, 12 to 1, and until last week, couldn't afford any TV or radio ads.

“We wanted to reach out and let them know that a lot of the issues Cathy has voted against impact woman and that Joe is supportive and will work to strengthen those things she has voted against,” Brudnicki told the Inlander, "like the Violence Against Women Act and equal pay legislation. ...All the things that Cathy has voted against all these years impact women in some fashion or another, whether it be cutting food stamps from the SNAP program or not extending unemployment insurance."  

In 2012, McMorris Rodgers opposed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act passed by the Senate, which added new protections for LGBT people, Native Americans and undocumented immigrants, and sponsored a stripped-down version of the bill in the House. She ultimately voted for the Senate's version of bill a year later. She also voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and Paycheck Fairness Act in 2009. 

The candidates held their first debate at Whitman College in Walla Walla last week. They'll square off again on October 30 at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. The debate, sponsored by Greater Spokane Incorporated, starts at 4pm and costs $15 to attend. 

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MORNING BRIEFING: Myst makes great TV, El Nino on the move, Kim Jong Un reappears

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 9:11 AM


Myst, the popular Spokane-made video game that became a cultural icon, will be made into a live-action TV series. (S-R) Last year we wrote a profile on Cyan, the company that created the game. Read that here. (INLANDER)

Property crime in Spokane reaches a new low. (KHQ)

We may be getting less snow than usual in the coming months thanks to El Nino. (KREM)

Washington state nurses admit they don’t feel prepared to handle the Ebola virus, in a statewide poll. (ST)

In case you were concerned he was gone forever … Kim Jong Un has reappeared after a month missing. (REUTERS)

Converse, the century old American shoe company, is sick of other brands copying its kicks, bringing on a lawsuit. (NYT)

El Salvador gets hit with a 7.4-magnatude earthquake. (CNN)
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Monday, October 13, 2014

VIDEO: Watch the first arrest filmed by a Spokane police body camera

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Started at about 2 am on Sept. 2, the Spokane Police body camera footage begins with an officer stepping out of a patrol vehicle along Central Avenue in East Spokane. A few streetlights glow overhead as two officers approach a home and listen outside the window for any signs of their suspect, a 42-year-old man accused of assaulting his roommate.

A pair of beeps signal that the officer’s body camera is rolling as he sits outside the window, listening to Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” blaring from a nearby stereo. Officers soon contact the suspect, ask him about his roommate and then arrest the suspect.

Police officials identified this incident as the first arrest captured on a body camera after the department launched a four-month pilot program on Sept. 1 with 17 officers wearing the devices. The Inlander obtained the footage through a records request to see how the cameras perform.

“You're being audio and video recorded right now,” one officer announces as they follow the suspect inside the home during questioning.

"Absolutely, I am,” the man responds.

Officials released more than 30 minutes of footage and we should note we have sped up some parts of the video — mostly because it’s boring, but also to avoid what could be considered unnecessarily invasive dialogue between the suspect and officers.

Taser Axon Body used by SPD. - JACOB JONES
  • Jacob Jones
  • Taser Axon Body used by SPD.

For a little context, officers responded to this home after the owner showed up in the hospital with assault injuries. The homeowner reported his house guest/roommate had punched him in the face. The victim also alleged the roommate had been drinking and using methamphetamine.

Officers went to the house and asked the man at the door about the owner and his living arrangement. At one point, an officer asks the man to step out on the porch, but he declines. The man soon ducks inside, leading officers to go in after him and detain him in handcuffs. They then read him his Miranda rights on the front porch.

“I want my lawyer right here with me,” the man says. “Right now, and he's invisible and you can't see him and if you ask me one more question, you'll never have anything."

When the man stands up, one officer puts a hand on his chest and sits him back down. Once they confirm charges via radio, they inform the man he is under arrest and walk him to a nearby patrol vehicle.

It’s not anything too exciting, but it stands as an intriguing demonstration of the technology's  strengths and weaknesses, which officials have tried to explain to the public in recent months.

The cameras are designed to pick up what human eyes and ears can. They seem to do surprisingly well under night conditions, but may struggle with ambient noise as heard when overwhelmed by Carrie Underwood songs.

Spokane Police Ombudsman Tim Burns says he has not received any public complaints involving the body cameras at this point, but he has heard some positive feedback from officers involved in the pilot program.

“I just don’t see how it could be anything but positive,” he says.

Police officials plan to continue community outreach efforts throughout the rest of this year in hopes of rolling out cameras to the entire department in January. A public forum is scheduled for Oct. 30 at Gonzaga University.

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Poll: 60 percent of voters favor I-594 for universal background checks

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Although both of Washington's conflicting gun-control measures are losing support, the majority of voters still prefer Initiative 594, the measure to expand criminal background checks for all gun sales, according to a new poll by Elway Research.

In the latest poll, released this morning, 60 percent of voters surveyed said they would "definitely" or "probably" vote for I-594. Meanwhile, 39 percent said they were more likely to support its rival measure on Election Day, Initiative 591, which would prohibit the state from enacting any additional background checks except those mandated by the federal government.

Support for the competing measures has been declining since April when voter majorities paradoxically favored both. This change may indicate that voters are less confused about the similarly titled initiatives than they were six months ago.  

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