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.

Georgios Giannopoulos/Wikimedia

Accepting refugees from war-torn countries has already been an issue in this election year, and probably will be again. 

That does not deter the efforts of people who think the United States is a good place--if not the best place--to take people who can no longer live in their home countries. 

Catholic Community Services of Lane County and the Refugee Resettlement Program are working to bring in two families of refugees from Syria. 

Deviant Art/Wikimedia

The income concerns of people from the middle class on down provide the two topics for this week's VENTSday segment. 

We want to gather your thoughts on the new federal rule on who gets overtime pay, and while you're at it, tell us about tipping--when you do it, and who should get tips. 

Listeners take center 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. 

Crown Business Books

Phew, good thing the Great Recession is over.  We sure learned a lot of lessons from the financial collapse of 2008.  Didn't we? 

Time magazine Assistant Managing Editor Rana Foroohar says no; not only did major figures go unpunished, but the banking system was not reformed significantly enough to avoid a repeat. 

In her book Makers and Takers, Foroohar points out that much of American business has now embraced the approach that the financial system rode to near-ruin. 


Oregon made the top ten!  Before the celebration starts, let's explain why this is NOT a good thing: analysis of gambling issues shows Oregon among the top ten most gambling-addicted states.

That's quite a feat for a state with no huge casinos, but it's a combination of casinos, lottery games, and a lack of services for problem gamblers. 


Jeremy Polk is a veterinarian.  Simple phrase, but one that would have astounded many people ten years ago. 

That's when Polk, from a turbulent upbringing and the foster care system, took part in a veterinary medicine training program offered through the Lane County Department of Youth Services.  He stuck with it, finally getting his certification as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. 

It all started ten years ago at the Eugene Animal Hospital, but the program that encouraged his interest no longer exists. 

Viking Press

Maybe your parents didn't get along so well.  Maybe, once you got older and noticed, your grandparents had very similar issues. 

We can't choose the families we're born into, but we can take note of what existed before we came along. 

Mark Wolynn, creator of the Family Constellation Institute, writes of "inherited family trauma" in his book It Didn't Start With You


Roads and bridges wear out over time, and have to be replaced. 

But entire transportation systems--roads, rails, air--require attention to keep up with demands of travelers and shippers. 

In Oregon, the Governor's Transportation Vision Panel paid that attention, in a comprehensive look at the state's transport needs.  Among the findings: Southern Oregon needs more transit, and more seismic retrofits to guard against earthquake damage. 


No single city will stop or reverse climate change, but all efforts help, right?  The City of Ashland answers the question in the affirmative with a year-long process to create a Climate and Energy Action Plan.

The city--with a lot of help from residents, it is hoped--will take stock of how it currently contributes greenhouse gases to the environment, and seek ways to reduce and mitigate. 

The first open house is set for Tuesday (May 24), with a few more to follow. 

Simon & Schuster

We know a whole lot about the way genes work, but we still get into debates about nature vs nurture. 

How much DO our genes determine the kinds of people we are? 

We will doubtless find out more over time, but we're already at a point when we can not only "read" genes, but "write" them as well.  Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee ("The Emperor of All Maladies") recounts the journey so far in his book The Gene: An Intimate History.

Mt Shasta Avalanche Center

We talk a fair amount about "The Big One," the anticipated Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake that could hit 9.0 or higher in magnitude.  But it's not the only movement of the Earth we need to be aware of: we have volcanoes nearby as well. 

Mount St. Helens blew its top more than 35 years ago, but other peaks in the Cascades could come to life as well. 

That is the focus of Seth Moran, who directs the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, WA. 

Glass Mountain in the highlands.

Medicine Lake Highlands in Siskiyou County are free of geothermal energy development today. 

And if the Pit River Tribe and their supporters get their way, the highlands will stay geothermal-free. 

The highlands hold great cultural significance for the tribe, which went to court in an effort to stop geothermal leases from being used.  A recent ruling went in the tribe's favor. 

Scribner/Simon & Schuster

We know so much about the brain, and nerves, and neurotransmitters... but... there's still no set of directions on how best to think and use our lives and gifts.  So we resort to terms like "grit." 

Which is the term psychologist Angela Duckworth chooses to use for the combination of passion and persistence that often yields good results. 

So her book is called Grit as well. 


Electric cars lack something most other vehicles have: an exhaust pipe.  Nothing burned, no emissions, no tailpipe. 

And while some electric car buyers are motivated by environmental concerns, those do not always top the list of reasons for buying. 

That's one of the findings of research from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis.  And within those findings: testimonials from people who just think electrics are sweet rides, with no consideration of emissions. 

Southern Oregon University

Many a college started up a women's resource center as the feminist movement of the 60s and 70s gained momentum.

Southern Oregon University was among them, setting up its WRC in 1976.  And it is still around, marking its 40th birthday on campus. 

From comfort to advocacy to household supplies, the center offers a wide range of services. 


By the latest figures, Oregon has the second highest rate of opioid drug addiction of any state.  People who would never think of taking heroin by needle have no problem taking its cousin in pill form. 

Doctors in the state joined forces years ago in what's now called Oregon Pain Guidance, which offers a public forum on pain management Thursday (May 19th) in Medford. 

Sam Quiñones is featured, for his profile of addiction in the heartland in Dreamland

Republican Dennis Richardson, loser of the last race for Oregon Governor, easily won nomination to run for Secretary of State.  His likely opponent will be Democrat Brad Avakian, currently Oregon's labor commissioner.

Richardson walked away with the nomination, rolling up more than 75% of the vote against Lane County Commissioner and former Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken.

Avakian had a closer time of it on the Democratic side, grabbing rough 40% of the vote.  State Senator Val Hoyle trailed with 33%, with fellow State Senator Richard Devlin further back.  Appointed incumbent Jeanne Atkins did not run for her job.

Avakian has served as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries since his election to that post in 2008.  Richardson served several terms in the legislature representing a Rogue Valley district before leaving to run for governor in 2014.  He lost the race to John Kitzhaber, only to see Kitzhaber resign in scandal a month into his term.

Oregon's emergency governor made a major step toward election by winning the Democratic Primary Tuesday night.  Kate Brown will face Republican Bud Pierce in the November general election.

Brown faced a field of political unknowns among Democrats, while Pierce, a Salem oncologist, had a tougher fight against former state GOP chair Allen Alley and some lesser-known names.

In the end, both cruised to their respective nominations.

Brown became governor upon the resignation of John Kitzhaber in February 2015.  She had been Secretary of State.  Since Kitzhaber departed before the middle of a four-year term, Oregon law required this year's vote for a two-year term.

Pierce will now turn his attention to breaking a long losing streak for the Republican party.  The last time Oregon voters put a member of the GOP in the governor's office was with the election of Vic Atiyeh in 1982.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune via

When someone is raped, a sexual assault forensic examiner can be an invaluable help. 

The examiner, a trained medical professional, can provide care for the victim and help gathering evidence to make a case in court. 

But a recent federal report shows that such examiners are few and far between in many states, particularly in rural areas.  The GAO--Government Accountability Office--compiled the report. 

Results from the Oregon Primary will be up for discussion on this week's VENTSday.  We'll also talk about a past election: Josephine County voters adopted a GMO crop ban, and a court just nixed it. 

So WHO should regulate GMO crops? 

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.

Oregon State University Press

Drive down a coastal highway in our region, and you're sure to see a sign advertising myrtlewood for sale. 

But the tree has value beyond its wood: Native Americans in the region ate parts of it.  That's one of many stories to emerge from the book Ethnobotany of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians

Patricia Whereat Phillips, herself Miluk Coos, is the book's author.