News

Oregon Fish & Wildlife

Since wolves first started returning to Washington and Oregon in the late 1990s, the population has been increasing steadily – especially over the past few years.

In late April, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission started the process of removing the predator from the state’s endangered species list.

All this brings up questions of whether the wolf has actually recovered enough to dial back protections. JPR’s Liam Moriarty spoke with Jes Burns, from the EarthFix environmental news team. 

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Declining federal timber revenue has driven Josephine County to the brink of insolvency. 

And the impact has been most acutely felt in public safety, where just a handful of deputies are available to patrol for the sheriff's department. 

Voters have rejected several property tax levies to boost patrols, and they get another chance to decide a levy, in the May 19th election. 

Measure 17-66 is the latest effort, and we will hear both sides in this hour. 

BLM/Public Domain

Some of the fiercest arguments over proper federal forest management in Oregon focus on the "O & C lands," forests once granted to the Oregon & California Railroad to finance construction. 

Back in federal hands, they are supposed to give half their timber revenue over to the counties containing them.  But with little timber being cut, county budgets have suffered. 

BLM is out with a draft of its management plan for Western Oregon forests, and will take comments into July. 

In this hour, we visit first with EarthFix reporter Jes Burns to get perspective on the lands and plans. 

Very few musicians of any stripe so personify a musical genre as completely as Tony Furtado embodies Americana roots music. Tony is an evocative and soulful singer, a wide-ranging songwriter and a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist adept on banjo, cello-banjo, slide guitar, and baritone ukulele who mixes and matches sounds and styles with the flair of a master chef (he’s also an accomplished sculptor, but that’s another story). 

Scott Sanchez/Wikimedia

Curry County on the Oregon coast needs help.  The loss of timber dollars from the federal government hit the county hard, and county services have been cut to the bone. 

County leaders will try once again in the May 19th election to pass a levy to fund the sheriff's office.  This one differs from past efforts in that the property tax rates would not be the same for residents inside and outside the cities in the county. 

We hear from both sides of Measure 8-81 in this hour, separately. 

The supporters, including Sheriff John Ward, will go first. 

Chris Lehman/Northwest News Network

Starting in July, adults in Oregon can legally use recreational marijuana.

But thousands of Oregonians will still have criminal records for marijuana offenses that would have been legal under the new law. Now, Oregon lawmakers are considering a proposal to wipe the slate clean for people convicted of certain marijuana offenses.

Details of the measure are still being negotiated but it's likely to apply only to people who did things that will be legal once the voter-approved Measure 91 takes effect.

The Interagency Fire Center released an outlook for the upcoming fire season on Friday. 2015 could be a big year for major wildfires in the Northwest.

One important predictor of fires is the moisture level of dead wood, called the "fuel moisture value." The value is measured at several sites across the state.

Dominic Barth

Juliana Hatfield was raised in Massachusetts. As a child she learned how to play piano, and during high school she played guitar in a covers group called the Squids before discovering alternative rock through the Velvet Underground. Following high school, she attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied voice. While at Berklee, she met guitarist John Strohm and drummer Freda Boner, with whom she formed the Blake Babies in 1986.

Marina Burity/Wikimedia

The stakes are a bit higher in the quest to build--or stop--a liquified natural gas terminal on the Oregon coast, and a pipeline to it. 

A similar plan for Northern Oregon just got blocked by Clatsop county, and the supporters of that proposal plan to appeal. 

The Jordan Cove proposal for the Coos Bay area is still active, for the moment. 

Katie Orr/CPR

The California drought is not only making fire season longer and more dangerous, it’s making fires harder to fight. Low water levels mean there may not be enough natural supply to fight fires. And that means firefighters have been forced to be creative.

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"Driving while hispanic" is not an official term, but it's one that surfaces from time to time in our region, indicating issues even here with law enforcement and race. 

And while much of the country is focused on those issues, Oregon Action and other groups want changes. 

OA is pushing for state laws that would curtail or end racial profiling by police. 

NOAA

The West Coast is in its second straight year of unusually warm water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. JPR looks at what makes this particular warming phenomenon so unique, and what consequences may be in store for the Northwest.

No EID For Downtown Medford

Apr 29, 2015
Google Maps

It's back to square one for the Metro Medford Downtown Association

MMDA wanted the city council to create an economic improvement district to spruce up the look of the downtown streets. 

But business owners did not support the idea in big enough numbers, and the council decided against the plan. 

Rowan Moore Gerety/NWPR

The Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage to more than 10 million Americans who were previously without health insurance, and provided subsidies to millions more. But it hasn’t changed much for those who have fallen behind in paying for health care. 

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The upper Klamath Basin figures to suffer through another drought this year. 

And when the skies don't deliver, groundwater is called upon to make up the difference. 

The Klamath Water and Power Authority pays irrigators to pump groundwater through its Water Use Mitigation Program. 

But the amount KWAPA is prepared to pay for is more than twice what the Oregon water agency recommends. 

Craig Henry

The WFMT Radio Network's American Opera Series returns to JPR's Classics & News Service on Saturday, May 16th following the conclusion of the Metropolitan Opera season. 

Filing Suit To Clear The Air

Apr 27, 2015
Wikimedia

The defendant name has changed, but the lawsuit is the same. 

A pair of Lane County teenagers are suing Oregon's governor (now Brown, not Kitzhaber) over climate change. 

Chernaik v Brown would require the state to develop a plan for dealing with greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. 

The suit is the brainchild of Our Children's Trust, based in Eugene. 

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"Marriage" has almost become a fighting word in modern America. 

We've certainly had a number of political and court battles over the institution and who is entitled to it. 

Oregon Humanities takes on the topic as part of its "Conversation Project" series, with stops in Medford and Grants Pass on Tuesday. 

Northwest Veterans' Use Of GI Bill Surges

Apr 26, 2015
Courtesy of Ray Facundo

More and more veterans are going back to school, using the G-I Bill to get a degree. In 2013 alone, more than 35,000 veterans in Oregon and Washington were using the education benefit to attend colleges and trade schools.

With more vets on campus, schools around the country are figuring out how to help veterans succeed in the classroom. 

Dominic Barth

For more than a decade pianist Marco Benevento has been amassing an extensive resume of composition and collaboration. His albums set forth a vision that connects the dots between Explosions In The Sky and Tortoise on one side, Brian Eno and Brad Mehldau on the other.

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