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.

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.

Kari Greer | California Interagency Incident Management Team

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. 

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. 

NBC News

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.”  

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Jmajonis/Wikipedia.org

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.

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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