Liam Moriarty


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.


5:46 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

What Does Species Recovery Look Like For Northwest Wolves?

The wolf designated by researchers as OR-7, caught on remote camera in southwest Oregon on May 3, 2014
Credit 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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Oath Keepers Maintain Mine "Security Operation"
7:16 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Show Of Support For Embattled Southern Oregon Miners

Ken Medenbach, from Crescent, Oregon, makes his feelings known in front of the Bureau of Land Management office in Medford
Credit Liam Moriarty/JPR

Two Oregon men accused by the federal Bureau of Land Management of illegal mining got a boost Thursday as dozens of supporters held a rally in Medford.

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6:55 am
Mon April 20, 2015

Klamath National Forest Post-Fire Plans Run Into Opposition

The Happy Camp fire burns in the Klamath National Forest in late September, 2014.
Credit Kari Greer/US Forest Service

Nearly a quarter-million acres of forest burned in last summer’s fires in and around the Klamath National Forest in northern California’s Siskiyou County.

The US Forest Service is proposing a recovery plan that includes salvage logging and other elements critics say will damage wildlife habitat and make future fires more likely. 

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"It's Impacting Salmon And Steelhead Populations"
2:10 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Study Says Pot Grows Drying Up Streams In Northern California

Credit wikipedia Commons/emeraldeye

California is four years into a historic drought, and water for human use is vying with the water needs of wildlife, such as threatened salmon.

In parts of northern California, an explosive and unregulated increase in marijuana cultivation is contributing to the problem. Now, a study says the impact of pot grows on fish-bearing streams is threatening their survival. 

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First...The News
12:19 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

The Perils Of Celebrity Journalism

In February 10, 2015, Williams was suspended for six months without pay from the Nightly News for "misrepresenting events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003."
Credit Wikimedia Commons

We live in an age that worships celebrity; a time where personalities such as Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton can be “famous for being famous.” So-called “reality” TV shows blur the line between the scripted and the genuine, and as a society we seem increasingly comfortable with a very elastic definition of “real.”  

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"It Still Haunts Me To This Day."
9:20 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Oregon Campaign To Help Ex-Convicts Seeks To “Ban The Box”

Remember the last job application you filled out? Chances are there was a box on that form asking you to check it if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. For tens of millions of Americans, that box can be an insurmountable barrier to gaining employment.

Now, a national campaign has come to Oregon that seeks to prevent employers from using that box on job applications. 

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"Going For Broke" Series Part 1
8:32 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Medford's Casino Quandry

Kristin Sandfort of Roseburg, Vickie Prohoroff of Azalea and Rod Debban of Myrtle Creek display their opposition to the proposed Coquille tribal casino proposal in Medford at a hearing held by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in early February
Credit Liam Moriarty/JPR

The proposal by the Coquille Indian tribe to build a new casino in Medford has taken heat from all sides, ever since it surfaced in 2012. Federal, state and local elected officials have lined up against it. The Cow Creek Indian tribe is adamantly opposed. And comments from the public at large have been overwhelmingly negative. JPR looks at some of the complexities that make this such a contentious debate.

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"Going For Broke" Series Part 2
6:58 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Medford Casino Proposal May Hinge On Arcane Points Of Law

An architect's rendering of before and after views of Roxy Ann Lanes and the planned remodel into The Cedars at Bear Creek.
Credit Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Coquille Indian tribe’s controversial proposal to build a casino in Medford is facing its first major legal hurdle; getting the federal government to grant the site trust status, making it Indian land. In this second part of our series “Going For Broke,” JPR finds that whether the project gets the go-ahead may depend on how officials at the Bureau of Indian Affairs interpret the fine print of laws and agreements that go back decades. 

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"Going For Broke" Series Part 3
8:30 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Medford Casino Proposal Pits Tribe Against Tribe

This billboard, displayed in several locations around Medford, is part of the Coquille tribe's campaign to win support for its casino proposal.
Credit Liam Moriarty/JPR

The Coquille Indian tribe’s proposal to build a new casino in south Medford has garnered a lot of opponents. But perhaps none as vociferous as the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians.

The Cow Creek have spent a lot of energy -- and money -- rallying opposition to the Coquille proposal. In this final part of our series “Going For Broke,” JPR looks at how these two tribes came to be at loggerheads.

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$100,000 Special Election
6:08 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Jackson County Asks Voters To Tax Marijuana

The marijuana legalization measure Oregon voters passed last November says only the state can tax recreational cannabis. Twenty percent of that state tax revenue is earmarked for cities and counties. But a lot of local governments around the state say they need a bigger slice of that pie.

Jackson County residents are voting next week on a measure to add a county tax on production and sales of both medical and recreational pot.

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Law and Justice
6:39 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

To Shoot Or Not To Shoot; That Is The Question

Credit Jmajonis/

Police shootings have been very much in the news in recent months, from Ferguson, Missouri to Pasco, Washington. And police decisions to use lethal force have been closely scrutinized and often criticized.

Last week, Southern Oregon University held an event where law enforcement officers from a variety of local agencies run students through realistic training exercises, including training in when to use – and not use – lethal force.

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11:28 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Ashland Crowd Urges Oregon Pot Regulators To Go Lightly

Participants in the Oregon Liquor Control Commission's "listening session" in Ashland were asked to place red dot stickers on the issues they felt most strongly about.
Credit Liam Moriarty/JPR

A crowd of about 400 turned out in Ashland Wednesday night to give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission their thoughts as the OLCC prepares to create regulations for the state’s soon-to-be-legal recreational marijuana industry.

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Politics & Government
12:37 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Oregon Governor Kitzhaber Releases Resignation Statement


February 13, 2015

Governor Kitzhaber Announces Resignation effective at 10 a.m., Wednesday, February 18, 2015

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kitzhaber released the following statement today:

I am announcing today that I will resign as Governor of the State of Oregon.
It is not in my nature to walk away from a job I have undertaken – it is to stand and fight for the cause.  For that reason I apologize to all those people who gave of their faith, time, energy and resources to elect me to a fourth term last year and who have supported me over the past three decades. I promise you that I will continue to pursue our shared goals and our common cause in another venue.

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Clashing Tribes
11:56 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Opponents Blast Coquille Casino Proposal At Federal Hearing in Medford

Kristin Sandfort of Roseburg, Vickie Prohoroff of Azalea and Rod Debban of Myrtle Creek display their opposition to the proposed Coquille tribal casino proposal in Medford at a hearing held by the Bureau of Indian Affairs at North Medford High School on Tuesday night.
Credit Liam Moriarty/JPR

The Coquille Indian tribe operates a casino and resort in North Bend, on the Oregon coast. Tuesday night, opponents wearing fluorescent yellow T-shirts saying “No Medford Casino” packed a hearing on the tribe’s proposal to build a second gaming facility in south Medford.

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Politics & Government
6:13 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Oregon Democrats To Push “Middle Class Economics”

Oregon’s state legislature begins a new session next Monday. Job number one is crafting the next two-year budget.

In the last election, Democrats strengthened their majorities in both houses and leaders say they want to boost education and other priorities that suffered cuts in recent years.

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10:25 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

New Farmer Training Seeks To Boost Ranks Of Food Producers

New farmers Jon Steiger and Tyson Fehrman -- graduates of the Rogue Farm Corps' hands-on farmer training program -- on their 87-acre farm in the Applegate Valley.
Credit Liam Moriarty/JPR

It used to be that if your parents were farmers, you became one, too. And eventually you passed the family farm down to your children. These days? Not so much. In fact, the average American farmer is nearly 60 years old, and young farmers aren’t coming up in nearly the numbers needed.

Now, a non-profit in Oregon is running a two-year hands-on course to train aspiring farmers in everything from seeds to livestock to reading a spreadsheet.

JPR went to southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley to visit a farm couple starting their own operation after graduating the course.

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“There is no alternative on the table ..."
6:57 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

One More Try: A Renewed Push To Pass Klamath Agreements

Dam controversial: PacifiCorp's Copco 1 dam on the lower Klamath River is one of four hydro dams that would be removed to facilitate fish passage under the pending Klamath water deal.
Credit Bureau of Land Management

Supporters of a trio of agreements meant to settle the rancorous water disputes in the Klamath Basin are gearing up to take another run at getting Congressional approval for the deal.

A Klamath bill by Oregon’s Democratic senators was not included in a massive funding measure passed in the frantic final hours of the last Congress.

Now – amid signs that support for the agreements is growing, the spotlight is turning toward the region’s Republican congressmember.

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First...The News
4:05 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

One Year And Counting: Looking Back

Mary Shaffer and sons Gabriel and Rio with a haul of donated groceries in the Food Project's distinctive Green Bags.
Credit Paul Giancarlo

October marked one year since I returned to the Rogue Valley from Europe to take up my new assignment at Jefferson Public Radio: to add local and regional news features to JPR’s broadcast of NPR's Morning Edition. 

Looking back over this past year, I think we’ve been successful at bringing JPR listeners interesting news and compelling stories about issues and events from around the region.

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"Everybody Deserves A Place To Sleep"
6:25 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Alternatives For Homeless Campers

Tiny houses in the micro-community of Quixote Village, in Olympia, Washington.
Credit Quixote Village

In last week’s sweep of the Bear Creek Greenway in Medford, police evicted more than two dozen homeless campers. Many lost their tents, sleeping bags or other belongings. This was the seventh greenway sweep this year.

Rather than continue this cycle of eviction and relocation, some Northwest cities are using innovative approaches to help homeless people get off the street – and save public money in the process.

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Revolving Door
7:03 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Sweep Evicts Greenway Campers (Again), But Are There Better Solutions?

The Bear Creek Greenway in the Rogue Valley attracts families, cyclists, joggers ... and dozens of homeless campers.
Credit ZabMilenko/Wikipedia Commons

Just as last week’s winter storm was about to blast into southern Oregon, police in Medford were conducting an overnight sweep of the Bear Creek Greenway.

The bike path and greenbelt that snakes along the floor of the Rogue Valley is an inviting refuge for homeless campers. Police cited more than two dozen people for illegal camping and cleared their camps, forcing them to seek other shelter.

In this two-part series, JPR looks at the problem of homeless campers and some of the creative approaches being used in Northwest cities.

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