Liam Moriarty

Reporter/Producer

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. He's reported on a wide range of topics – including politics, the environment, business, social issues and more – for newspapers, magazines, public radio and the web.  Liam was JPR News Director from 2002 to 2005, reporting and producing the Jefferson Daily regional news magazine. After covering the environment in Seattle, then reporting on European issues from France, he's returned to JPR, turning his talents to covering the stories that are important to the people of this very special region.

The sudden arrival of summery weather in Oregon – combined with above-average snowpack in the mountains – mean rivers in the region are running higher – and colder – than normal. Officials say that – with Memorial Day coming up -- playing on the rivers could be more dangerous.

Laurie Avocado/Wikimedia Commons

The list of states with some form of legal marijuana continues to grow. But because pot remains illegal under federal law, most banks won’t offer services to cannabis businesses.

Now, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is sponsoring a bill that would remove key barriers that keep most marijuana businesses operating only in cash. 

AmeliaTempleton/EarthFx

After a long string of defeated property tax levies, voters in Josephine County finally found two they could support. A public safety levy and a levy to establish a public library district both passed by nearly identical 52 to 48 percent margins.

Jes Burns/OPB EarthFix

A ballot measure that would have blocked a controversial gas pipeline and export terminal proposal has been decisively shot down by voters in Coos County.

The so-called “Community Bill of Rights” measure would have prohibited any “non-sustainable” energy project in the county along Oregon’s south coast. That could have killed the proposed Jordan Cove liquid natural gas terminal in Coos Bay.

Mary Geddry , one of Measure 6-162’s petitioners, blames the loss on a well-financed corporate media blitz that created fear and doubt about the measure.

Oregon Department of Forestry

After a long-running effort to sell it, it looks like the Elliott State Forest along Oregon’s southern coast will remain in public hands after all. At a meeting of the state’s State Land Board this week, the governor and two other officials chose to cancel the sale of the forest to a Native American tribe and a timber company.

EarthFix reporter Cassandra Profita was there, and she speaks with JPR’s Liam Moriarty about what happened. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR

Senator Ron Wyden slammed the newly-passed GOP health care bill during a talk in southern Oregon Friday. He spoke to a gathering of local social workers concerned about the potential impacts of President Trump’s proposed budget for this fall. 

Mark Oniffrey via Wikimedia Commons

Naloxone is a drug that quickly reverses an overdose of heroin or other opioid drugs. It’s been used by hospitals and emergency medical workers since the 1970s.

But in recent years -- as the opioid epidemic has spread – many states including Oregon, California and Washington have passed laws making it easier for non-medical people to obtain naloxone and use it in an emergency.

This is the story of an Ashland mother who’s turned her personal tragedy into community action to save lives.

I have this somewhat naïve idea — gained from coming up as a journalist during a simpler time — that it’s my job to act as a principled civic go-between. 

I’m supposed to find out the kind of information that you, as a citizen, need to understand the various institutions that affect your life. And then I’m supposed to communicate that information to you, in a clear, informative and hopefully enjoyable way. That’s my basic job description.

US Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons

You recognize monarch butterflies; with their large, distinctively patterned orange, black and white wings, monarchs are iconic across North America for their far-ranging multi-generational migration. The population of these colorful creatures has plummeted by 75 percent or more since the 1990s.

Now, government agencies and local non-profits are teaming up to restore feeding and breeding habitat for the monarchs as they make their way through southern Oregon each year.

Jefferson Public Radio’s Liam Moriarty recently took a tour of some of the projects intended to help bring these crowd-pleasing creatures back from the brink.

Liam Moriarty/JPR

Governor Kate Brown wrapped up a two-day visit to southern Oregon with a presentation at a Rotary Club luncheon in Medford on Wednesday. She discussed what she’d like to see come out of the current legislative session.

Liam Moriarty/JPR

This past week, Representative Greg Walden faced a series of contentious Town Hall meetings with constituents infuriated by his advocacy of the stalled GOP health care bill and his embrace of President Donald Trump. On Friday, the only Republican in Oregon’s congressional delegation met with another largely-hostile crowd, this time in Medford.

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.

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.

Ray Nata -- Wikimedia Commons

Rapidly rising prices for prescription drugs are being blamed for increased health care costs, as well as a growing number of people not being able to afford medicines they need. A bill pending in the Oregon legislature proposes to cap excessive drug prices. But the pharmaceutical industry is pushing back.

C Span via YouTube

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its analysis of the Republican plan to replace Obamacare. And Oregon’s Democratic senators say the impact will be as grim as they feared. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR

The Oregon legislature’s budget-writing committee came to southern Oregon Friday night as part of a series of hearings around the state. Lawmakers are facing a shortfall of about $1.6 billion for the next two-year budget period.

The Senate and House budget leaders – both Democrats -- have proposed a budget that makes deep cuts in many programs and services. Citizens representing a wide range of programs came out to make their case for continuing to fund what they say are essential services.

Darren Campbell

The Ashland Independent Film Festival is gearing up for its 16th season, which takes place for five days in early April. JPR reporter Jennifer Margulis has been busy getting a behind-the-scenes look at how it all happens. JPR’s Liam Moriarty invited Jennifer into the studio to tell us about it. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

America’s energy future is often cast as a battle that pits fossil fuels such as coal and gas against wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. But in the Pacific Northwest, we've already slashed greenhouse gas emissions -- and saved big bucks -- with a clean energy source that often doesn't even get mentioned in policy debates.

Oregon Department of Forestry

Tuesday we’ll be getting more information about the fate of Oregon’s Elliott State Forest.  You might remember that the state put the 82,000-acre public forest near Coos Bay up for sale.

Just one bid came in – led by a private timber firm.  But the State Land Board decided to hold out and see if another, more publicly-minded offer would emerge.

Late last week, Governor Kate Brown released an alternative plan. Jes Burns, of our EarthFix team, spoke with JPR’s Liam Moriarty about what’s going on. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR

The federal government has fined more than 750 hospitals across the country for scoring in the bottom 25 percent on measures of patient safety. Hospital-acquired infections, blood clots, falls and bedsores are among the avoidable injuries to patients included in the annual ranking by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The program is meant to prod hospitals to improve patient safety. But hospital officials say the rating system doesn’t paint an accurate picture of patient care.

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