Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson nearly three decades ago, as a reporter and anchor for a Medford TV station. It was about the same time that he began listening to Jefferson Public Radio, and thought he might one day work there. He was right.

Geoff came to JPR as a backup host on The Jefferson Exchange in late 2000, and he assumed the full-time host job at the beginning of 2010. The two hours of the Exchange allow him to join our listeners in exploring issues both large and small, local and global. In addition to hosting The Exchange, Geoff oversees JPR’s news department as its News Director.

Geoff is a New York native, with stints in broadcast news in Missouri, Alabama, and Wisconsin before his arrival in Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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

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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. 

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The interest in immigration is acute at the moment, but it's always there. 

Daniel Connolly spent more than a decade reporting on immigration, specifically Mexican immigration, legal and not. 

He dug a bit deeper with a focus on one young man considering his options in a country where his parents reside illegally. 

The Book of Isaias tells the story of the young man. 

Mari C Shanta / 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. 

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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. 

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If you spend any time online, you know what happens when you just LOOK at a product and its price: pretty soon, all of the ads in the margins of all the web sites are ads for that product. 

Our past patterns can be used to forecast future behavior, by people or computers.  The gathering of our data can be helpful, but makes us uneasy at the same time. 

Patrick Tucker explored both ends of the transaction in his 2014 book The Naked Future

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. 

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. 

Howard R. Hollem/Library of Congress/Wikimedia

There's a lot of longing for "good old days" in America, the time when many people could graduate from high school and step into a well-paid manufacturing job--and send their kids to college. 

The economic boom that followed World War II was long and impressive... and quite possibly, an anomaly. 

Marc Levinson explains in his book An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy.  It shows the factors and forces that made so many people so much money from the end of the war up to the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973.

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.

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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. 

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Do you look around before you speak your mind?  Are you concerned by what other people will think about what YOU think?  You're not alone in a country as politically divided as ours is. 

Oregon's own Sharon Schuman pushes for something she calls "dialogic freedom" -- freedom to say what you think, within certain guidelines. 

She goes back in history for examples, in her book Freedom and Dialogue in a Polarized World.  It's a helpful reminder that today's polarization is not new. 

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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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You're familiar with the role of a midwife: assist mothers-to-be with bringing their children into the world. 

But the ancient role of midwife has been given a twist: now you can be a DEATH midwife, helping people OUT of the world. 

Kate Riley is certified as a death midwife, dedicated to making dying people and their loved ones comfortable with the process of dying.  She is the author of a book about her mother's death, Launching Vee's Chariot: An End-of-Life Tale

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Shakespeare scholars and fans are already debating whether "Edward III" is a Shakespeare play.  Did he write all of it?  Part of it?  None? 

The point is moot at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which commissioned a modern-language version of the play as part of its "Play On!" series. 

Octavio Solis got the task of rewriting the play, to be presented Monday (March 27th) by the Ashland New Plays Festival

Photo: Ben DeJarnette

Just because people want to live in the country does not mean you know anything about caring for the land. 

Which is why the Oregon State University Extension Service offers programs in land stewardship.  Those include an annual offering called Tree School Rogue, coming to Rogue Community College in April. 

Max Bennett is one of the instructors, helping forest landowners know more about the care and feeding of the forest. 

Save Our Libraries Committee

Douglas County is one of the more broke counties in Western Oregon. 

It is one of many counties that used to get most of its income from federal timber sales.  But the sales crashed in the age of the spotted owl, and the money crashed as well. 

Voters rejected a tax levy to fund a library district, so the county plans to shut its libraries April 1st. 

There is a determined pro-library faction working to get the libraries open again, led by Save Our Libraries. 

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The name Klebold should ring a bell, but not a happy one. 

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were the two Columbine High School students who shot and killed 13 people at the school in 1999; they wounded 24 others before killing themselves. 

The crime itself is incomprehensible to most of us, perhaps more so for Sue Klebold, Dylan's mother.  She wrote a book about her journey before and after Columbine, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy

The book is now out in paperback, with all profits going to research and charities working on mental illness. 

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