News

John Craig, BLM via Wikimedia

We tend to focus on ice caps and polar bears, but climate change effects every place that has a climate.  Meaning: Earth. 

Environmental scientist Susan Harrison tracks the changes in plant species in our region. 

And she has some recent comparisons with older findings in the Siskiyous that are eye-opening. 

On March 16th, the Trump administration released its FY2018 budget outline which includes a provision to eliminate annual grants to public radio and television stations through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).  Ultimately, Congress will make the final decision on continuing the annual federal investment that supports JPR and other public radio and television stations across the country. This support totals $1.35 per citizen per year for all public radio and television stations, and just 30 cents per citizen annually for radio stations alone.

publicceo.com

The State of Jefferson gets some recognition from the Oregon Historical Society in its latest publication. 

The Oregon Historical Quarterly's latest issue focuses on historical events and research in our corners of Oregon and California. 

The issue itself bears the one-time-only title of "Jefferson Historical Quarterly."  So we talk about some of the work to explore the region in this month's edition of "Underground History." 

In-house archaeologist Chelsea Rose from the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology returns. 

missingmiddlehousing.com

The housing shortage is real in several communities around the region. 

Vacancy rates are low, so rents are high, and it can take a long time for people to find suitable housing.  Community leaders are aware of the issue and working to address it. 

One approach: build up the middle of the housing market, the multiple-family homes that are not full-blown apartment complexes.  Urbanist Daniel Parolek calls this the "missing middle." 

We talk housing needs and the economy on a wider scale with Dan Parolek, Guy Tauer of the Oregon Employment Department and Connie Saldaña, an advocate for the homeless for Rogue Valley Council of Governments

Wikimedia

Are we nostalgic for the Civil War?  People in several states have talked about secession in recent years, from Texans frustrated with Barack Obama to Californians frustrated with Donald Trump. 

Actually, some of the agitation for an independent California pre-dates the Trump administration. 

Yes California is the organization most vocal about splitting the state from the union. 

Marcus Ruiz-Evans is a co-founder, Clare Hedin is the Bay Area representative. 

Public Domain

Even people who can afford homes are aware of how tight the rental market is. 

From Eugene to Redding, vacancy rates hover around one or two percent.  Which makes rental housing hard to find AND expensive.  The situation contributes to homelessness as well. 

In the city of Redding, the Community Revitalization and Development Corporation works to bring up the numbers of affordable housing units. 

Heather Franklin / via Facebook

This summer marks three years since the Boles Fire tore through the north end of Weed, destroying 145 homes and several other buildings, including the library.

The city is recovering, though slowly. 

Homes are being built to replace the ones lost in the fire, but there's a long road ahead in the rebuilding process. 

Wikimedia

One of the major issues with balancing the state budget in Oregon is the amount of money needed to make sure retired public workers get the pensions they were promised. 

PERS, the Public Employee Retiree System, needs more money to match what retirees expect with what has been saved for them. 

Tim Nesbitt knows PERS from both labor and management sides.  He worked for a couple of Oregon governors and once led the AFL-CIO in the state. 

KING5 TV, Seattle

The Trump Administration is expected to announce any day now plans to reverse a raft of Obama-era climate change policies. Governors and mayors along the West Coast have stated their opposition to the move. And Saturday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared their intention to forge ahead with regional climate change efforts.

Katie Alaimo / Roseburg News-Review

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley held a Town Hall-style meeting near his hometown in Douglas County Saturday morning. The Democrat was greeted by a crowd of supporters celebrating a victory for the Affordable Care Act. 

California's Unemployment Rate Fell In February

Mar 24, 2017
© Steven Pavlov / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Senapa

California had another strong jobs report in February. New state numbers show the unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in ten years, down to 5 percent from 5.2 percent in January. 

The unemployment rate stands at 4.7 percent.

Riccardo Rossi, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15140983

Salmon runs into the region's rivers fluctuate quite a bit from year to year. 

But the forecast for the chinook salmon run returning to the Klamath River this year is just plain awful.  If the forecast proves true, it will be the smallest chinook run in recorded history. 

Which presents the Pacific Fishery Management Council with few options, none of them attractive for people who want to catch the fish. 

Wet Weather Delays Planting For Central Valley Farmers

Mar 24, 2017
UC Farm Cooperative

Flooded fields, muddy ground, and constant rain are keeping Central Valley farmers from planting their crops.

Hemhem20X6, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3466950

Sudden Oak Death is becoming a big enough concern that even Congress is paying attention. 

Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley recently joined with a state legislator, Rep. David Brock Smith, to create a task force on the tree disease. 

So far, it is contained to Curry County on Oregon's South Coast, but it has killed large numbers of oak trees in coastal California as well, and defoliated conifers, too. 

Tammy via Wikimedia Commons

The lower costs and smaller environmental footprint of tiny houses have drawn a growing movement of people seeking to dramatically downsize their living space. But standard building codes have made it difficult to legally build one.

Late last year, a group led by a tiny-house entrepreneur in southern Oregon got the main building code organization in the US to approve a code specifically for tiny houses. It’s a major milestone for a movement that’s struggled for legal recognition.

But it turns out it may be years before the changes take effect.

Scott Catron, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=849216

There are still plenty of people in Oregon who remember when state law made the ocean beaches public property. 

And there's a big anniversary coming up: the 50th birthday of the law. 

Brent Walth is on the journalism faculty at UO. He is the author of Fire at Eden's Gate: Tom McCall and the Oregon Story.

Wikimedia

You CAN own the beach in California, unlike in Oregon. 

But an array of groups and government agencies exist to make sure that members of the public get maximum beach access, and minimum abuse to the coastline. 

The California State Coastal Conservancy is a part of that array.    The conservancy is unusual for its lack of regulatory powers. 

California Central Valley Farmers Won't Get Full Water Supply

Mar 23, 2017
Curtis Jerome Haynes

Farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley won’t be receiving a full supply of water from the federal Central Valley Project despite the wet winter.

Oregon Legislative Roundup with Chris Lehman

Mar 22, 2017
Oregon Secretary of State

Oregon lawmakers tasked with putting together the state’s next two-year budget are facing a projected shortfall of about $1.6 billion.

Salem correspondent Chris Lehman spoke with JPR’s Geoff Riley on the Jefferson Exchange about what’s going on in the Capitol as the legislative session gathers steam. 

Wikimedia

Well, that didn't take long: if a new report is accurate, more than 12,000 people work in the cannabis business in Oregon. 

And this is just a couple of years after pot became legal for personal use in the state. 

The Oregon House of Representatives asked for the report to get a handle on the economic impact of cannabis in Oregon. 

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