The sudden arrival of summery weather in Oregon – combined with above-average snowpack in the mountains – mean rivers in the region are running higher – and colder – than normal. Officials say that – with Memorial Day coming up -- playing on the rivers could be more dangerous.

Oregon Department of Forestry

Lone Rock Timber and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians were ready to take over part of the state-owned Elliott State Forest, but Oregon leaders had other ideas. 

The forest is supposed to generate money for schools through timber sales, but has lost money in recent years. 

That's what prompted the move to sell part of it, a move canceled by the governor and state treasurer, two of the three members of the State Land Board. 

Ryan Haas/OPB

Marilyn Hersey, 79, credits a monster with saving her life.

“It wasn’t like I had to go out and kill the Gila monster before I got [its saliva] or anything like that,” Hersey said. “It was just the idea.”

The saliva from the Gila monster, a venomous lizard that dwells in arid North American deserts like the Sonoran, is a mild but extremely painful neurotoxin. It’s also the key ingredient in medications used to treat type-2 diabetes.

How Oregon Is Trying To Fix Its Chronic Disease Crisis

May 19, 2017
Laura Klinkner/OPB

The headquarters of the state agency that handles chronic disease sits on the seventh floor of the Oregon State Office Building in Portland.

It overlooks one of the healthiest parts of the state.

Across the Willamette River, one can see the entirety of the city’s Pearl District — a healthy living hub where it’s easy to grab a kale shake on the way to a trendy cardio-kickboxing class.

But what that view doesn’t show is the massive health crisis going on in Oregon.

Eric Teel

Shelby Earl’s first two albums earned the kind of raves any musician would kill for. Upon hearing her 2011 debut, Burn the Boats, NPR’s Ann Powers called Earl her “new favorite songwriter,” and she wasn’t alone. Accolades followed from Rolling Stone to the Wall Street Journal and a million music sites in between that positioned her somewhere to the left of Neko Case, a few blocks from Sharon Van Etten, catercorner to Angel Olsen.

Ji-Elle, Public Domain,

It's well established that urban areas have an effect on even remote environments. 

For example, it's hard to find places to see the stars in the night sky when there's a city nearby. 

And it's not just visuals, it's sounds, too... Recent research shows that the sounds of human society intrude well into rural areas, with an effect on sensitive animal species and habitats in which they should be generally free of humans.

Karen McClintock is an psychologist, author, teacher, and pastor. 

Much of her writing and her workshops focus on eradicating sexual shame.  It's a subject she knows from her own family: McClintock's father was gay, at a time and place in America when many men could not afford to be publicly gay. 

It's a story she tells in her new book My Father's Closet

Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University is not a very big campus, but its price tag figures to get bigger in the next academic year. 

A budget shortfall for Oregon state government will likely impact the seven state universities, which largely have to fund themselves through tuition. 

So SOU President Linda Schott proposed, and the board of trustees approved, a tuition hike of 12%. 

The state's revenue picture got clearer with the release of new income figures this week; there is more money, but taxpayers are likely to get "kicker" refunds. 


It's pretty typical to complain about potholes, but even the people who fix Oregon's roads will tell you repairs are needed.

And the state legislature recognizes this; that's why it's been talking for a couple of years about a major transportation bill. 

Now one is on the table, with a mix of tax and fee ideas and plans for shoring up the ways of getting around Oregon. 

UC Regents To Grill UC President, State Auditor Thursday Over Controversial Audit

May 18, 2017
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

University of California regents will publicly discuss a blistering state audit of UC President Janet Napolitano’s office for the first time Thursday when they meet in San Francisco.

Laurie Avocado/Wikimedia Commons

The list of states with some form of legal marijuana continues to grow. But because pot remains illegal under federal law, most banks won’t offer services to cannabis businesses.

Now, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is sponsoring a bill that would remove key barriers that keep most marijuana businesses operating only in cash. 

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity

It's almost like an old-fashioned barn-raising, the way Habitat for Humanity works. 

People with home-building skills come together with a soon-to-be homeowner and work together to build the house. 

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity marks 30 years on the job this year, with activity in Medford and several other communities. 

Kaye Runner, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Craig Chaquico has played the guitar in a lot of circumstances; he was just 20 when he joined Jefferson Starship. 

But Chaquico has never played with a choir, he says.  Until now... a concert on May 20th has him strapping on his guitar to accompany the Jefferson State Choral Coalition

What do you know... another band named Jefferson? 


After a long string of defeated property tax levies, voters in Josephine County finally found two they could support. A public safety levy and a levy to establish a public library district both passed by nearly identical 52 to 48 percent margins.

Jes Burns/OPB EarthFix

A ballot measure that would have blocked a controversial gas pipeline and export terminal proposal has been decisively shot down by voters in Coos County.

The so-called “Community Bill of Rights” measure would have prohibited any “non-sustainable” energy project in the county along Oregon’s south coast. That could have killed the proposed Jordan Cove liquid natural gas terminal in Coos Bay.

Mary Geddry , one of Measure 6-162’s petitioners, blames the loss on a well-financed corporate media blitz that created fear and doubt about the measure.

Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

The news about Oregon's unemployment rate is great, on its surface: the lowest rate recorded since the current accounting system went into place in 1976. 

But if you live in rural Oregon, as many of our listeners do, you might wonder where the prosperity is. 

A new report on "The Employment Landscape of Rural Oregon" shows just how much the rural parts of the state lag economically behind the urban areas. 

Cycle Oregon

What began as an idea for a long bike ride has turned into much more over the years.  30 years, in fact. 

That's how old Cycle Oregon will be this year, and it celebrates with a multiple-day ride through the South Cascades, including Crater Lake, in September. 

Former Oregonian columnist Jonathan Nicholas and Jim Beaver of Ashland were part of the original ride and the growth of Cycle Oregon. 

The race doesn't just collect money from riders, it also hands out plenty through its foundation. 

Crews To Halt Oroville Spillway Use For Ongoing Repairs

May 16, 2017
@CA_DWR / Twitter

Water flowing down the damaged spillway at Lake Oroville will once again be shut off as crews work to fix the structure.


The California Department of Water Resources says it decreased the amount of water being released from the reservoir today.


A full shutdown of the spillway is expected sometime between Saturday and the middle of next week.


NOAA/Candice Emmons

New research shows some of the orca populations that visit the Salish Sea are booming while the orcas who spend most of their time there are suffering. It comes down to what the different orcas eat.

Owen via Wikimedia Commons

Today is election day for voters on the Oregon side, but you might get a blank stare when you ask someone who they voted for. 

Because the majority of ballot items are races for school and fire district boards and similar local positions.  Many candidates run for those positions unopposed. 

And that's one thing Springfield's Jim Cupples would like to change, through his website Run for Office.  It gives people across the country a chance to look up local races where they live, from school board to Senate, and prepare to run for office.