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.


"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,” 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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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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