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.

Liam Moriarty/JPR

UPDATE: SUNDAY, AUGUST 2, 11:30 A.M. ... Smoke from the Stouts fire in Douglas County continues to flow into southwest and south central Oregon, causing deteriorating air quality.

Laurie Avocado/Wikimedia Commons

Legal marijuana is a rapidly-growing reality. Four states, including Oregon and Washington, have legalized recreational use of the drug. Several more – including California – could well do so by the end of next year. Forty states have legalized it in some form for medicinal use.

Now, US Senators from Oregon, Washington and Colorado hope to start breaking down the federal barriers that lock many legal cannabis businesses out of routine banking and financial services.

USDA

Voters in Jackson and Josephine Counties last year approved county-wide bans on the cultivation of genetically-modified crops. Backers of those measures fear a bill that just passed the US House of Representatives would roll back those bans – as well as scores of other GMO-related measures across the country.

Wikimedia Commons

Honey bees around the world are facing serious challenges.  In recent years, annual hive losses have risen to 50 percent or more. Now, a California non-profit is working to help farmers and other landowners create habitat for bees and other pollinators.

oregon.gov

The Oregon legislature recently adjourned for the year, leaving some unfinished business when it comes to a state forest that’s been the subject of controversy. Conservation groups expressed dismay last year when state officials decided to sell parts of the Elliott State Forest to timber companies. 

The first thing I realized when I started reporting on the heroin epidemic in southern Oregon is that pretty much everything I thought I knew about it was wrong.

Liam Moriarty/JPR

Dr. Jim Shames is an addiction specialist and the medical director for Jackson County Health and Human Services. He says doctors like him played a key role in creating the epidemic of addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers. Now, he’s leading innovative efforts to turn it around. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR

Today, we meet Darryl Inaba. He’s a Doctor of Clinical Pharmacy and co-author of “Uppers, Downers, All Arounders,” a book on addiction and the brain that’s widely used as a training text. He says while the belated recognition of prescription opioid addiction is reducing the number of new addicts, not enough is being done to help those already hooked.

Liam Moriarty/JPR

In this final part of the series, we meet 27-year-old Diana Cooper. She’s a mother of four from Medford -- and a recovering heroin addict.

Public Domain

The search for pain relief is turning respectable members of the community into drug addicts.

It's happened for years, since the introduction of the highly effective and highly addictive opioid pain killers, like Oxycontin and Vicodin. 

Doctors are now trying to limit prescriptions to them, but that's sent some people turning to heroin for relief. 

JPR reporter Liam Moriarty researched the issue in a series of reports, "Silent Epidemic."

Jeff Zimmerman/advancedfiretech@gmail.com

UPDATED MONDAY JUNE 29, at 9:30 a.m. | The Buckskin Fire in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is quiet for now, still holding at 5,345 acres.  Overall containment remains at 60%. 

The fire remains under patrol, but last week's successful burnout operation means no additional fire activity is anticipated within the next 72 hours.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Repeated high-profile incidents of people being sickened by pesticides sprayed from aircraft in Oregon have increased calls for new regulations. But push-back from agricultural and timber industry groups has led to a bill that supporters of stronger rules say won’t solve the problem.

inciweb.nwcg.gov

  (UPDATED 10:08 a.m., Wednesday, June 17)

Fire fighters continue to gain ground are on the two main active wild fires in southern Oregon and northern California.

Rob Manning/OPB

Northwest  forest policy is once again heating up.  Last week, federal officials presented their latest assessment of the Northwest Forest Plan, which covers more than 2 million acres of federal land in Washington, Oregon and California.  Jes Burns from our EarthFix team gets together with JPR’s Liam Moriarty to break it all down.

AmeliaTempleton/EarthFx

Josephine and Curry counties occupy Oregon’s rural southwest corner. For many residents, a call to 9-1-1 could well be answered by a dispatcher saying there’s no one available to come to your aid.

Voters in both counties will decide on May 19 the fate of proposed property tax levies. The measures would raise money to restore severe cuts in law enforcement that were made after voters repeatedly and decisively shot down previous levies.

Liam Moriarty/JPR

The federal government has been telling Oregon for over a decade that its rules to protect threatened coastal salmon are not up to snuff. Now, the state is faced with a loss of federal dollars unless it gets with the program.

In response, the Oregon Board of Forestry is weighing whether to require timberland owners to leave more trees standing along streams to better protect fish habitat. And that’s got owners of small timber lands especially worried.

John R. McMillan/NOAA Fisheries

Salmon and other threatened fish need cold water to thrive. Research shows current logging rules in Oregon can result in streams warming up more than is allowed under standards meant to protect the fish.

That could force the state Board of Forestry to require more trees be left standing alongside fish-bearing streams. And that would be an economic hit to private forest landowners.

In Part Two of this story – reported in collaboration with InvestigateWest -- JPR looks at how science has ended up at the center of this debate. 

A magnitude 3.3 earthquake hit Wednesday morning just outside Redding, California.

The US Geological Survey reports the epicenter of the quake, which struck at 11:30 a.m., was about 2.5 miles northwest of Redding, near the intersection of Keswick Dam Road and Quartz Hill Road.

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. 

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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