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.


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

Mid-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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Running Out Of TIme
7:53 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Wyden O&C Timber, Klamath Bills In Trouble

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden Announces his O&C timber bill in Salem in November, 2013


As Congress prepares to adjourn next week, still unresolved is a pair of bills with wide-reaching implications for southern and western Oregon.

Over the past year, Senator Ron Wyden has pushed hard for compromise measures that would address long-standing conflicts over logging and water. But now those bills are in limbo.

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State vs Local Control
7:01 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Local Governments Want Changes To Oregon’s New Marijuana Law

Credit United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Oregon’s Measure 91 – which legalized recreational use of marijuana – passed with a healthy 56 percent of the vote this month. Now, local officials are urging the state legislature to make changes they say will lessen the new law’s impact and preserve their authority to make local decisions.

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It's complicated ...
6:18 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Paying Wind Generators Not To Produce Power

The first powerhouse of the Bonneville Dam, 40 miles east of Portland, on the Columbia River.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Chances are your utility bill has gone up this year. One small part of the reason may be that you’re paying for electricity that was never generated.  

Jefferson Public Radio takes a look at how Northwest electricity customers got saddled with more than $2.7 million in payments for power they didn’t use.

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Three Strikes
9:03 am
Thu November 6, 2014

GMO Labeling Measure Falls Short


Efforts to require labeling of genetically engineered foods have gone 0 for 3 on the west coast, as Oregon's Measure 92 loses by a slim margin.

As of 8:01 Thursday morning, the Oregon Secretary of State's office showed the labeling measure at 49.7 percent yes t0 50.3 no, a margin of less than 10,000 votes, with more than 95 percent of the estimated votes counted.

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Election 2014
12:26 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Alan Bates Holds Onto His Oregon Senate Seat


Four years ago, it took a recount to declare Oregon State Senator Alan Bates the winner by fewer than 300 votes.

This time – after a rematch with his Republican opponent Dave Dotterrer – Bates’ margin of victory in the Third Senate District was a more comfortable 52 to 45 percent. 

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In Their Own Words
8:02 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

November Election Previews-Oregon

Jefferson Public Radio will preview several of the key races and measures in the November 4th election.

This page will serve as a collecting point for interviews and features on the Oregon candidates and races; just click the highlighted text to jump to the audio.

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Election 2014
4:38 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Power in Oregon Senate Could Hinge on Southern Oregon Race

Republican state Senate candidate Dave Dotterrer (L), and the incumbent Democrat, Alan Bates

Oregon’s Third Senate District – which comprises southern Jackson County including most of Medford – is one of several key districts where the outcome of the race could overturn Democratic control of the narrowly-divided state Senate.

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Food Fight
5:33 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Measure 92: Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods in Oregon

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Last spring, voters in two southern Oregon counties passed measures to ban the cultivation of genetically engineered crops.  Now, Oregon voters statewide are being asked to approve a measure to require genetically engineered foods to be labeled.

As with the similar, unsuccessful ballot measures in Washington and California, lots of out-of-state money is flooding into the campaigns on both sides.

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US Senatorial Campaign
11:51 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Merkley and Wehby Finally Debate


US Senator Jeff Merkley and his Republican challenger Monica Wehby went head-to-head Tuesday on Medford TV station KOBI.  

In their only scheduled debate, both candidates sought to portray the other as extreme and out of touch with everyday Oregonians, while positioning themselves as champions of working people.

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"I think There's A Much Better Solution ..."
5:07 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

Rick Steves’ Crusade Against Marijuana Prohibition Visits Ashland

Travel author and media personality Rick Steves

Travel guru Rick Steves is widely known for his guidebooks and programs on public radio and TV.

In recent years he’s also taken a high-profile stance against  marijuana prohibition.

Steves was in Ashland late last week in support of Oregon’s Measure 91, which would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, much as Colorado and Steves’ home state of Washington have. 

Steves told JPR’s Liam Moriarty his extensive travels in Europe have shown him a smarter way of dealing with cannabis than the punitive American War on Drugs.

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Sheriff Race Shocker
6:12 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Jackson County Sheriff Announces Retirement, Endorses Opponent

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters says he's dropping out of the race for a fourth term.

The race for Jackson County sheriff just got a little more interesting. 

In an exclusive interview with Medford television station KDRV, three-term incumbent Mike Winters says he'll step down when his term ends on Dec. 31. And, he says, he's endorsing his challenger, Ashland Police Department Deputy Chief Corey Falls.

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First...The News
11:39 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Objective News

Whatever became of “objective” news reporting? You know, the kind that just gives you the facts, without any slant or bias, the kind we used to have back in the good old days?

In this current era of shouting-heads cable TV shows and hot-talk radio and incendiary blog posts, when everyone with a Twitter account can make news, it’s understandable to pine for the lost paradise of “objective” journalism.                                                                                                                                                  

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Scenes From A Fire
11:55 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Weed: Images Of The Aftermath

A pickup truck in a residential neighborhood of Weed.
Eric Teel/JPR

The Boles fire that swept through the the Siskiyou County town of Weed on Monday left a swath of devastation through this community of 3,ooo that sits in the shadow of Mount Shasta. 

Officials say at least 150 buildings were damaged or destroyed: homes, commercial structures, even two churches. And while much of  the town remains undamaged, entire neighborhoods were reduced to charred rubble and many residents lost everything they owned.

Hot, Dry Weekend Forecast
8:02 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Crews Making Progress on Onion Mountain Fire

An air tanker drops fire retardant on the Onion Mountain fire burning in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Josephine County, Oregon.
Credit John Luerding/

UPDATE: Friday 9/19/14 10:35 a.m.

The Onion Mountain fire in Josephine County  is now estimated at 4,102 acres with 20 percent containment.

The fire is burning in grass, brush and timber in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, 13 miles west of Grants Pass. 

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