The story of "exclusion laws" is well-known in Oregon.  The state skirted the slave-vs-free question at its birth by just banning all black people from living within its borders. 

But what about people who lived here BEFORE it was a state?  There are examples, including the shipwrecked black sailor James D. Saules, who arrived before many white settlers. 

His story is told in the book Dangerous Subjects: James D. Saules and the Rise of Black Exclusion in Oregon

US Forest Service

The Chetco Bar fire in southwestern Oregon was the state’s biggest wildfire of 2017, burning just over 191,000 acres, mostly in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Seven homes were lost and hundreds of people had to evacuate from Brookings and nearby communities.

Now, specialists have assessed the damage to the landscape and repair work is getting underway. But the full impact will largely depend on this winter’s weather, and on management decisions that have yet to be made.


Communities all over the country look for ways to get people off the streets. 

Homelessness persists, despite--or perhaps because of--an improving economy. 

One answer that works on a local level is to get homeless people out of town, literally. 

Good News Rescue Mission in Redding is one of several agencies that provide transportation to send homeless people from Redding back to places where they have a support network. 

More than 100 people have used the program since the mission began offering it three years ago. 

Trent Spurlock/Oregon Digital

Inspectors from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs are expected in Oregon again this week to pay visits to the VA facilities in Roseburg and Eugene. 

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) asked for inspectors to follow up on complaints about the VA from current and former employees. 

Those complaints focus on what they see as poor-quality care, and retaliation on the people who speak up about it. 

Dr. Scott Russi was a surgeon at the Roseburg VA (Eugene clinic) who says he's been fired (VA will not confirm). 

Dr. Russi visits with an explanation of what he saw and responded to. 

SSgt Alesia Goosic/U.S. Navy/Public Domain,

You may wait a while to get an appointment with doctor, and may wait a while to SEE the doctor, but how long in the room WITH the doctor? 

In most people's experience, it's not a very long visit. 

And that is precisely the issue Victoria Sweet, herself a physician, has with modern medicine: the speed. 

She says good medical care takes time, and she advocates for it in her book Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing.  How slow? 

Video Shows Oregon State Senator With Topless Woman

Nov 13, 2017
Sen. Jeff Kruse website

It was Sen. Peter Courtney’s chief of staff who contacted police about a YouTube video that appeared to show Sen. Jeff Kruse masturbating, Oregon State Police records show.

The records, obtained by The News-Review Thursday morning, also show Kruse gave a different explanation to police than he did to the news media about the events that led to the video being posted online.

Bryan M. Vance/OPB

What would it look like if Oregon’s largest public universities fell into private control? It’s an idea that surfaced recently as a possible way to save the state money. But the people who floated the suggestion also acknowledged that it’s a bit of a long shot. The suggestion came as part of an effort to trim $5 billion of “unfunded actuarial liability” from the state’s public pension system, or PERS.

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Any public building erected in recent years includes ramps and other devices to get people in wheelchairs inside with minimal effort. 

So we've adjusted our physical spaces, but how about our literature?  The depictions of people with disabilities are changing there as well, and University of Oregon Associate Professor Betsy Wheeler is observing and assisting the changes. 

Wheeler's work includes studies of disabilities in literature, but also postwar (WWII) literature and culture, including comic books. 

She is our guest in this month's edition of cUriOus: Research Meets Radio.

Oregon is the "beaver state," but the designation does not help beavers much.  The title confers no protection, and beavers are still killed all the time. 

Some are killed by government workers, and that is the reason for a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Western Environmental Law Center

They say up to 400 beavers a year are killed as pests by federal Wildlife Services, an agency of the Department of Agriculture. 

Attorney: California Senator Fired Staffers Who Reported Alleged Misconduct With Female Colleague

Nov 10, 2017
Sen. Mendoda's website

California state Sen. Tony Mendoza fired three employees after they reported his alleged inappropriate behavior toward a young female colleague, according to an attorney representing one of the staffers.

“This smacks of retaliation,” attorney Micha Star Liberty said Thursday.

It's not like we can interview characters from TV's long-running cartoon "The Simpsons." 

But... there IS a play based on Simpsons characters coming to a stage in Ashland soon. 

"Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play" is a production of the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, and it brings to life--even in song!--the creepy nuclear power plant boss from the TV show.

Ravel.  Berlioz.  Pinkston.  Pinkston?  Yes, he is among the composers whose works will be performed by the North State Symphony in concerts this weekend (Nov. 11 in Chico, Nov. 12 in Redding). 

Dan Pinkston chairs the music department of Simpson University in Redding, and is the composer of a concerto for violin and symphony premiering at the concerts. 

It is the latest in a series of Pinkston works performed to acclaim around the world. 

Jerry Brown Calls For EU Climate Partnership, Linking Cap-And-Trade

Nov 9, 2017
Neon Tommy/Wikimedia

California Governor Jerry Brown and heads of the European Union are pledging greater cooperation on climate change.

 “Climate change is a threat to all of humanity, to all species, and it can only be solved by a global cooperative effort that must be far greater than it is today,” Brown told the European Parliament at a clean technology conference in Brussels on Tuesday.

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani called California a model.

Voters In Oregon Coast Town Reject Repeal Of Vacation Rental Rules

Nov 8, 2017
Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

After months of debate and nearly five years of discussion, voters on Tuesday night decisively rejected a ballot measure that would have repealed Gearhart’s vacation rental rules.

The measure was failing 77 percent to 23 percent with most votes counted.

This Thanksgiving, JPR is serving up a few helpings of special programming for you. Here's what we've got planned...

Excel23/Wikimedia Commons

Americans love Wal-Mart.  Enough to spend most of their retail dollars there, anyway.  But Wal-Mart has many detractors, including people who blame the big store for killing off the mom-and-pop stores in many downtowns. 

Even Wal-Mart can't make a go of truly small towns, and that's where the dollar stores are taking hold, with nearly 2,000 expected to be built in the United States this year. 

Retail business observer Garrick Brown keeps an eye on trends in the retail world. 

Your local radio station, this one included, doesn't necessarily have to be local anymore. 

The FCC required local stations to keep studios in the cities to which they were licensed.  But that rule will be allowed to drop, so the friendly voice in Klamath Falls may actually be in Chicago. 

That's just one topic in the media of late.  There are always PLENTY of others, as explored by our partners on the communication faculty at Southern Oregon University

Our montly perusal of media topics is called "Signals & Noise." 


Maybe you were visiting a big city and thought you'd go to a park.  But when you got there, you discovered the "park" was really an open area covered by concrete, with little in the way of natural amenities. 

Benjamin Vogt is an outspoken critic of the "nature deficit" he sees in urban areas. 

And he urges people to grow native plants around them, a point he pounds home in A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future

As the Oregon Health Authority is working to explain how it miss-spent 74 million dollars in federal Medicaid funds, Oregon’s secretary of state says more evidence of money troubles will be released soon. 

Republican Dennis Richardson told JPR News that an audit report on the health authority will be released by his office in about two weeks. 

Calif. Studies Options For A Legal Pot Industry Still Excluded From Most Banks

Nov 8, 2017
Melissa Bosworth / Capital Public Radio / File

With California’s multi-billion dollar recreational cannabis industry coming online next year, state officials are thinking about piles of money.

report out Tuesday looks at where growers and sellers should park their cash, since most banks won’t touch it.

Because having and selling pot is still a federal crime, unbanked businesses spend a lot of time handling stacks of cash and hoping they don’t get robbed.