This year's race for Oregon Governor has attracted a crowded field of contenders from both sides of the aisle, but only one candidate is seeking a patent to go with his political platform. 

  Democrat David Stauffer of Portland describes himself as an "Environmental Innovations Inventor." 

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Humboldt County, California is wrestling with a choice of energy futures.  Until recently, one-third of the county’s energy production came from burning woody biomass to make electricity.

But economic factors have led to local biomass power plants closing. This, as Humboldt is trying to join other California counties in taking over its own energy rates and using more locally-sourced power.

In this second of two stories, we look at Humboldt’s plan to buy energy via an organization called a Community Choice Aggregation, or CCA.

Michael Joyce/JPR

Humboldt County, California is facing an energy crisis. It’s also facing an energy opportunity. 

Traditionally, one-third of the county’s energy production has come from converting woody biomass to energy. But local biomass power plants are closing, just as the county is trying to join the  likes of Sonoma and Marin counties in taking over its own energy rates and encourage more locally-sourced power. 

In this first of two stories, we take a closer look at a biomass industry in jeopardy.

GOP Presidential Candidates Court California Republicans

May 2, 2016
Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

California Republicans aren't used to being wooed by presidential candidates for anything other than money. But this weekend's state GOP convention in Burlingame, just south of San Francisco, drew all three active candidates, as well as hundreds of protesters, police in riot gear and throngs of national media.

You really begin to appreciate the time-consuming work of digitizing old media when you peruse the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program.  

 With a few key words, you can search 150 years of newspapers from across Oregon.  

Eugene Opera

Louisa May Alcott lit a fire that still burns when she wrote "Little Women" a century and a half ago.  Who knew people were still clamoring to read the book today?  

  Or that people love it enough to transform it into different art forms?  Case in point: Eugene Opera's presentation of "Little Women" as an opera, written in 1998 by Mark Adamo.

  Andrew Solomon has a knack for getting into the middle of things.  In previous books, he helped us understand depression, appreciate the complexity of parent-child relations, and know more about the particular relationship between the Sandy Hook shooter and his father.  

 In "Far And Away," Solomon takes us to centers of change around the world.  He was present for upheavals in Russia, South Africa, and Brazil, and the list goes on.  

Get Electricity: Go Fly A Kite

Apr 29, 2016

  Maybe you've seen those small wind turbines mounted close to the ground in rural areas.  

  And maybe you've noticed that they don't seem to turn terribly fast, even in windy conditions.  That's true, because the faster winds are higher up. So go fly a kite: tethered kites might provide more, and more consistent, electricity.  

Liam Moriarty/JPR

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich stopped in southern Oregon on his campaign swing through the state Thursday.

The Ohio governor touted his economic record in that state and said he offers an alternative to the negativity of the race so far. 

The Cost Of Death With Dignity

Apr 28, 2016
Courtesy Lyle Rudensey

People who use Oregon and Washington’s Death with Dignity laws have, for years, used a high dose of sleeping pills to peacefully end their lives. But the pharmaceutical company that makes that medication recently doubled the price.

From KLCC in Eugene, Rachael McDonald has this personal perspective of a family member choosing to end their life.

As you might imagine, JPR gets a fair amount of listener feedback. A recent email from one listener criticized JPR for an episode of RadioLab we aired which this listener contended was the final straw that proved JPR supported the proliferation and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs have been a hot topic in recent years, both regionally and nationally, with bans approved by voters in Jackson and Josephine counties and the narrow defeat of an Oregon statewide GMO food labeling initiative in 2014.

A closure order in the Ashland Watershed that has kept people from using many of the trails since December will be lifted on April 30th. The closure was put in place to ensure for public safety safety during helicopter logging operations that were a part of ongoing work in the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project. The current work has been ongoing since December.


  Light the candles on a birthday cake for the National Park Service if you dare, but there will be more candle than cake. 

NPS turns 100 this year, with a number of celebrations. 

Oregon is not overly endowed with NPS facilities, but Crater Lake and Oregon Caves are part of the system, wowing visitors and helping keep their dollars in the region. 

Steph MacKinnon

  Matt Haimovitz and his cello are on the road a lot. 

One description of his touring pace is "relentless." 

And he's not picky about venues, playing everything from concert halls to coffee houses.  Add radio studios to the list, because Haimovitz drops in to The Exchange for chat and concerto.

  Loud and proud would be one way to describe Gina Barreca. 

And let's add funny to that list, because she is frequently that.  Barreca's syndicated columns and essays frequently take on subjects of interest to today's women, and provide laughs for all. 

Her latest essay collection is If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse? 


  The ongoing battle over gender inclusive bathrooms in North Carolina rivets the attention of activists and observers across the country. 

And it will doubtless be a topic of discussion when Basic Rights Oregon holds its annual Statewide Leadership Summit in Eugene next week (May 7).

Transgender law is a hot topic now, but the daily focus of the Transgender Law Center based in Oakland. 

Trump Spurs Oregon Latinos to Apply for Citizenship

Apr 26, 2016
Jacob Lewin/KLCC

Oregon is seeing a big increase in the number of Latinos applying for citizenship.  The main reason is the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric.

It's not just the Internet that encourages anonymous commenting... even The Exchange only requires first names from people who call and email. 

So this VENTSday, let's talk about the effects of anonymous venting. 

Our other topic: what circumstances (example: felony conviction) should cost a person her/his right to vote?  

Listeners take stage on our weekly VENTSday segment, a chance to vent on a couple of topics in the news--by phone, by email, or through our online survey. We provide the topics, you provide the opinions. 

No expertise necessary; just opinions and the ability to express them in a radio-friendly way. We post our weekly survey on one or both of the topics in advance.

It's quite the flock running for Oregon governor this year. 

Kate Brown is the incumbent by appointment, which almost makes it an open seat.  15 candidates in all signed up in the Democratic, Republican, and Independent Party of Oregon primaries. 

Stephen Johnson, home care worker and former real estate agent, runs against Brown in the Democratic primary. 

Oregon Regulators Fall Short In Response To Air Pollution Complaints

Apr 25, 2016
Tony Schick/OPB

If you smell an industrial odor in your neighborhood, it can raise a lot of questions: What is it? Where’s it coming from? Is it unsafe? Regulators encourage people to file complaints about such odors because there could be a real problem.

The EarthFix team investigated what happens to these air pollution complaints. The answer, at least in Oregon, is "very little."