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CRIME

Blazer appears in court

Portland Trail Blazer Qyntel Woods is scheduled to appear this morning in Clackamas County Circuit Court.

Woods is the subject of a criminal investigation into allegations of animal abuse and neglect. His Lake Oswego home was searched for evidence of dogfighting in December by Multnomah County Animal Services, the Clackamas County sheriff's office and the Oregon Humane Society. Dogfighting is a felony under Oregon law.

Woods has not yet been charged with any crime. The Clackamas County district attorney's office declined to comment on whether it has negotiated a plea bargain agreement with Woods. His lawyer, Stephen Houze, could not be reached for comment.

Suspect hospitalized

Downtown shooting suspect Vincent Edward Stemle Jr. was judged incompetent to assist in his own defense and was committed to the Oregon State Hospital for treatment Thursday.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Julie Frantz made the rulings after Stemle's attorney, Ron Fishback, presented a psychological report that said he suffered from a mental illness. Under Oregon law, Stemle will be treated at the hospital until he is mentally competent to stand trial.

Stemle, 56, is accused of shooting and killing Michael Egan, 41, outside the downtown Meier & Frank store on Southwest Fifth Avenue near Morrison Street on the morning of Dec. 23, 2004. Witnesses told police that Stemle pulled a .357-caliber Magnum pistol from his pocket and shot Egan after being accosted by him. Both men were homeless at the time of the killing.

Stemle is charged with one count of murder by the Multnomah County district attorney's office. A grand jury has taken testimony in the case but has put off filing formal charges while Stemle is at the hospital.

CITY

Citizen Corps formed

Portland Mayor Tom Potter will formally announce on Friday the creation of the Portland Citizen Corps Council to coordinate volunteer responses to natural disasters, terrorism and crime.

The 9 a.m. City Hall announcement will introduce the 35 members of the Citizen Corps, which will include community leaders in crime prevention, emergency services, business and nonprofits. Potter will chair the council, which will meet quarterly to oversee the city's volunteer response efforts.

The City Council established the Citizen Corps in October as part of the federal USA Freedom Corp. program, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security. Local programs that will be coordinated by the Citizen Corps include the city's Neighborhood Emergency Team and Business Emergency Team Program, crime prevention program, and Multnomah County's Medical Reserve Corps Program.

More information on the Citizen Corps is on the Portland Office of Emergency Management's Web site, http://www.portlandonline.com/oem/. Portlanders interested in volunteering for any of the programs should call Program Coordinator Rachel Jacky, 503-823-4375.

Ñ Tribune staff