Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson more than 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.

Public Domain

Smart phones are extremely common now, and nobody seems to have a problem with them.  But smart meters?  That's a different story completely. 

Pacific Power's announced plans to convert Oregon residential customers to smart meters--devices that deliver power usage information through a wireless network--have met with vocal opposition. 

Members of the public have expressed concerns about the meters and what they are capable of doing, both in tracking power usage and in emitted radiation. 

Greg Grossmeier, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20219402

We suspect calluses on both the hands and feet of John Soares.  He is a dedicated and constant hiker, so that would explain foot calluses. 

And he is an energetic and prolific writer, so we can imagine a few keyboarding calluses on his hands. 

He's got two new hiking books out, a fourth edition of 100 Classic Hikes: Northern California, and the smaller, more portable Day Hiking: Mount Shasta, Lassen & Trinity Alps Regions

stevepb/Pixabay

Nutrition and money seem to have a direct relationship: if you've got more money, you buy better food.  So it's certainly harder to eat well on a limited budget, but not impossible. 

Leanne Brown, author of several cookbooks, demonstrates in Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day.  She visited The Exchange in 2015, and we rejoin the interview here. 

The book is now out in a Spanish-language version, and in either language, it's FREE.  Leanne Brown offers it in a PDF version for people who can't afford the printed version. 

© 2003 Samvado Gunnar Kossatz

The Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers are gone from Oregon, but absolutely not forgotten.  The religious leader set up camp on a ranch in Wasco County in the early 80s, and captured attention and headlines and law enforcement scrutiny. 

What began as a "free love" movement turned darker, including attempts to kill key officials and members of the public. 

This month's edition of Underground History, our regular soiree with the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology, covers the after-the-fact investigation of Rajneeshpuram. 

Matthew Cowan of the Oregon Historical Society played a part in the creation of the recent Netflix documentary about the Rajneeshees. 

Dennis Griffin is the state archaelogist who did some work on the ranch. 

Wikimedia

Few people will approach the issue of sexual assault the way Winnie Li did.  Her novel Dark Chapter, a fictionalized account of her real-life rape, brings readers into the mind of victim and rapist. 

And it kindles a larger discussion of how we as a society respond to the survivors of sexual assault. 

Susan Moen helps coordinate the response at the Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), and BB Beltran does the same for Lane County Sexual Assault Support Services (SASSLane). 

Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26583479

Worst Christmas present ever for Eagle Point: the fire that burned down the historic Butte Creek Mill in 2015.  The old mill is listed as the last water-powered grist mill west of the Mississippi river. 

And it will soon begin to rise again, thanks to support from the community.  Some notable figures, including actors Patrick Duffy and Jim Belushi, have joined the effort to raise money for the mill's rebuilding. 

And the fundraising has been brisk. 

US Bureau of Reclamation

The recent drought years have often left drivers on Interstate Five wondering what happened to Shasta Lake.  The bridges that cross arms of the lake are often high above the water line, and it can be hard to even see water and boats. 

But a plan to raise the height of Shasta Dam by 18 feet is still on the table, in fact got recent funding for design and engineering work.  The move is applauded by Westlands Water District and other water agencies. 

But the dam-raising plan is condemned by Friends of the River and other groups. 

StockSnap/Pixabay

Paul Offit knows medicine.  And so he speaks from a position of some authority when he talks about issues with the human body and its care and maintenance. 

Dr. Offit notices that scientists are not really good at imparting simple, bumper-sticker information, so other people--politicians, actors, lobbyists, you name it--fill the breach. 

And that's what Dr. Offit addresses in his book Bad Advice, Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren't Your Best Source of Health Information.  It gives pointers on how to assess the quality of advice being given. 

niekverlaan/Pixabay

Just about anybody who ever worked in a newsroom can share a story about a public official NOT looking happy to see a reporter. 

News organizations report on the business of government, not always a comfortable situation for people in government. 

And a recent study shows that cities where newspapers shut down saw an increase in local government costs, at least partly because of reduced scrutiny of city deals. 

JenRegnier/Pixabay

How would your dog do on the SATs?  The question is a joke, but not the concept of testing dogs for problem-solving abilities. 

Oregon State University's Human-Animal Interaction Lab put both pet dogs and trained search & rescue dogs to work solving puzzles (yes, they involve treats). 

And the dogs displayed some differences in behavior based on whether humans were encouraging them, or not. 

Lauren Brubaker, a doctoral student at the lab, led the research. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

To call Octavio Solis a prolific playwright is a big understatement.  He's written enough plays to fill a shelf, enough plays to give someone a cramp picking up all the scripts. 

And the work continues; next year the Oregon Shakespeare Festival will host the world premiere of "Mother Road." 

Solis has had several of his plays staged at OSF already, and has participated in the "Play On" project, rewriting Shakespeare's works into modern English. 

La Citta Vita, https://www.flickr.com/photos/la-citta-vita/6044042151/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28131542

Conservation easements and land donations are pretty common here... people who own land volunteer to give it up, or some uses of it, for the good of the environment. 

There's another approach, payments for environmental services (PES), which are controversial.  Do we have to pay people to do the right thing? 

Recent research involving Oregon State University indicates PES does provide some benefits to land and people and the communities they share.  The research focused on Mexico. 

Oregon Lays Out Cash To Build More Homes

Jun 22, 2018
Public Domain

Oregon needs more homes... lots of them.  By one measurement, Medford alone could use more than 4,000 new rental units to make housing more affordable for more people. 

The state of Oregon is acting.  The department of Housing and Community Services just awarded nearly $53 Million to build hundreds of housing units in other parts of the state. 

Margaret Salazar runs OHCS. 

Humans spent many years building big mechanized facilities to keep sewage and other waste from getting into our waterways. 

In Arcata, the city and community supporters worked long and hard to get nature involved in the treatment process. 

The result is the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, a jewel in the city's environmental crown.  It is featured in a new book called The Marsh Builders by Sharon Levy. 

She visits the studio to talk about the marsh creation. 

NIH/Public Domain

Using the hospital as the doctor's office is not uncommon in America.  When you're low on cash and don't have insurance, visiting the emergency room is a viable option. 

And may be less of an option now that more people are insured. 

Research out of the University of California-San Francisco notes the use of emergency rooms dropping in California since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). 

Wikimedia

It's a natural fit, for churches to help the homeless population. 

The founders and leaders of most major religions speak with compassion about caring for people down on their luck. 

Ashland churches are making moves to increase the quantity and quality of the community's offerings for homeless people. 

Rev. Dan Fowler from the First Presbyterian Church visits, along with Ken Gudger, president of Options for Helping Residents of Ashland

mromerorta/Pixabay

Too many people already spend nights in their cars because they don't have any other place to sleep.  But some other vehicles, with a little work, can be comfy places to spend some time. 

Ashland-based Forever Homes, Vehicles for Change plans to convert retired school buses to new uses as temporary homes for homeless people. 

FH,VFC leaders envision both short- and longer-term modifications for the big yellow buses. 

sabinevanerp/Pixabay

Yikes, the recipe you got online calls for grams of flour, not cups.  How...?  Don't panic.  There are easy conversion charts, and you're already doing math in the kitchen anyway. 

True, as pointed out by mathematician Eugenia Cheng, whose goal is to rid the world of math phobia. 

She worked on us a few years ago with a lighthearted look at math/kitchen crossovers, How to Bake Pi

jarmoluk/Pixabay

Many of the activities that once kept people busy in rural areas just require fewer people now.  So it's hard to keep people down on the farm (or forest). 

One solution for improving rural productivity is to make sure that broadband Internet service is available. 

This is a pet cause of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who is pushing for Congress to fund broadband expansion in rural areas. 

We hear about the needs and the uses of additional money from Zachary Cikanek at Connect Americans Now, and Christopher Tamarin, a broadband specialist in the Oregon Business Development Department.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks

The recent discovery of an unusual looking wolf (or is it bear?) shot in Montana has a connection to Oregon. 

Because the federal Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Lab performed the work to identify the creature, which is indeed a wolf. 

Ken Goddard has been the director of the lab since its inception.  And he can tell us plenty about the tools at the lab's disposal... it's the only fully-equipped lab of its kind in the world, serving 182 countries. 

Pages