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. moriartyl@sou.edu

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Environment
2:06 am
Wed May 21, 2014

GMO Bans Win Big in Jackson, Josephine Counties

Rogue Valley farmer Jared Watters supported Measure 15-119. The ban on growing GMO crops passed with 67 percent of the vote.
Credit Liam Moriarty/JPR News

The proponents of measures to ban the cultivation of genetically-modified crops in Jackson and Josephine Counties have pulled off solid wins.

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Law and Justice
1:44 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Josephine County Voters Say No to Public Safety Levy (Again)

Credit Amelia Templeton/EarthFix

The third time was not the charm, as Josephine County voters once again shot down a measure to raise property taxes to pay for law enforcement.

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Environment
6:07 pm
Sun May 18, 2014

Arrests Highlight Threat To Ancient Redwoods

Credit Two+two=4/Wikimedia Commons

Two northern California men have been charged with damaging old growth trees in the Redwood National and State Forest. The arrests are the first in response to a recent increase in illegal poaching of redwood burl. JPR looks at the illicit trade in the North Coast’s legendary giants. 

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What's a "good neighbor?"
5:35 pm
Sun May 11, 2014

GMO Battle Divides Jackson County Farmers

Jim and Marilyn Frink farm 500 acres in the Sams Valley area in Jackson County.
Credit Liam Moriarty/JPR

The people with perhaps the most direct economic stake in the fate of Jackson County’s proposed ban on growing genetically modified crops are the county’s farmers. JPR visited Rogue Valley farmers who stand on opposite sides of Measure 15-119 to find out how they see it.  

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A Hand Up
5:08 pm
Sun May 4, 2014

A Hot Shower For Ashland's Homeless

A homeless man who goes by Steve enjoys the new hot shower and laundry facility in Ashland
Credit Liam Moriarty/JPR

Most of us take for granted that we can have a hot shower pretty much anytime we like.  But for people without a home, such basic personal hygiene can be a rare luxury. Now, in Ashland, community groups have come together to create a solution that meets the simple human need for cleanliness with dignity and compassion.

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Education
5:32 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

SOU President Talks About Her Potential Move

Southern Oregon University President Mary Cullinan
Credit SOU

This has been a tumultuous year at Southern Oregon University; deep budget cuts, faculty layoffs, contentious contract negotiations, academic reorganization -- not to mention a dramatic restructuring of the entire Oregon University System.

On Monday, SOU president Mary Cullinan announced she’s a finalist for a position as president of Youngstown State University in Ohio.

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Free Bird?
5:13 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

SOU President Is Finalist for Job In Ohio

SOU president Mary Cullinan
Credit Sou.edu

Mary Cullinan, embattled president of Southern Oregon University, announced Monday that she’s a finalist for the job of president at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio.

Cullinan, president at SOU since 2006, made the announcement in a campus-wide email Monday afternoon. She indicated she had not been actively seeking another job.

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NPR Story
10:44 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Nearly 150-Year-Old Federal Mining Law Could Need Update

Highly acidic mine runoff flows from a culvert near the abandoned Formosa mine near Riddle, Oregon.
Liam Moriarty/Jefferson Public Radio

The federal legislation that regulates mining for copper, zinc, gold and many other minerals was originally signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. In ways, the law reflects a 19th century view of natural resources: limitless and there for the taking.

Now, a legacy of pollution at tens of thousands of abandoned mines across the West is prompting an Oregon congressman to head a new effort to revise the General Mining Act of 1872.

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Environment
6:14 pm
Sun April 27, 2014

Time To Update the 1872 Mining Law?

Highly acidic mine runoff flows from a culvert near the abandoned Formosa mine near Riddle, Oregon.
Credit Liam Moriarty / Jefferson Public Radio

The federal legislation that regulates mining for copper, zinc, gold and many other minerals was originally signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. In ways, the law reflects a 19th century view of natural resources: limitless and there for the taking.

Now, a legacy of pollution at tens of thousands of abandoned mines across the West is prompting an Oregon Congressmember to head a new effort to revise the General Mining Act of 1872.

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Community Watch
1:29 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Citizen Volunteers Arm Themselves Against Crime In Rural Oregon

An old police car is permanently parked on the highway through O'Brien, Ore., where cuts to the sheriff's office have prompted some locals to mount crime patrols.
Jeff Barnard AP

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:10 am

It's after 10 p.m. as Sam Nichols slowly cruises through the tiny town of O'Brien, Ore., shining superbright spotlights into the shadows.

"We're just checking this commercial building here, just to make sure there's no one hiding around it or anything," Nichols says.

Nichols' King Cab pickup has a yellow flasher on top and signs on the doors identifying it as a Citizens Against Crime patrol. Riding with Nichols is fellow volunteer Alan Cress.

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Not so fast ...
9:32 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

More Than 100 Oregon Cities Pass Dispensary Moratoriums

A medical marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado
Credit O'Dea at WikiCommons

In March, a new Oregon law allowing medical marijuana to be sold in storefront dispensaries went into effect. Many of the newly-licensed dispensaries have yet to open, at least in part because another new law allows local authorities to ban the shops for up to a year. So far, lots of cities have done that.

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Law and Justice
4:47 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

Armed Citizen Groups Fill Law Enforcement Gaps

Retired Josephine County Sheriff's Deputy Ken Selig leads a training session for the North Valley Community Watch Responder Team.
Credit NVCW

Rural counties in southern Oregon are suffering from the loss of the federal timber money that used to be the mainstay of county government budgets.

After repeated failed efforts to get residents to approve tax increases, officials in Josephine County made dramatic cutbacks in county services, including law enforcement. 

In response, a growing number of armed citizen groups are cropping up to fill that public safety vacuum.

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And the Beet Goes On ...
6:18 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Ag Industry Rallies to Defeat Jackson County Anti-GMO Measure

GMO sugar beets are at the heart of the push for Measure 15-119.
Credit USDA

If voters approve, Jackson County would become the first in the state to ban growing genetically modified crops. A local farmers’ group has put a measure on the May ballot. The measure would apply to just one, mostly-rural county. But the campaign has attracted attention – and money – from around the state and across the nation, as ag groups and biotech giants have poured huge amounts of cash into the fight.

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Second Amendment Slugfest
1:30 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Public Weighs In On Proposed Ashland Gun Ordinance

Gun owners Sherry Lloyd, Christopher Lloyd and Bruce Cook (l to r) display their firearms at the Ashland City Council hearing on a proposed gun control ordinance
Credit Liam Moriarty/Jefferson Public Radio

It was standing room only at the City Council chamber in Ashland  last night, as elected officials heard from supporters and opponents of a proposed gun control ordinance. After passionate pleading from both sides, the council voted to take the next step toward enacting the law.

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Politics & Government
5:44 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Facing A Hot Wildfire Season, Officials Pitch New Funding Bill

Credit Federal Emergency Management Agency

This summer is shaping up to be a hot season for wildfires, especially on the west coast. Federal officials and lawmakers took the opportunity Monday to urge passage of legislation that would treat big wildfires like other natural disasters. They say this would fix a problem that’s hampered efforts to prevent the fires in the first place.

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Is Caltrans "out of date"?
4:17 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

NorCal Highway Projects Raise Environmental Concerns

The Smith River, near Crescent City, California
Credit Clinton Steeds via Wikipedia Commons

Recently, an independent review of California’s transportation department Caltrans concluded the agency is stuck in the past. Some activists say several Caltrans projects along the North Coast are examples of the need for reform.

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The Lege Calls It A Session
4:25 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

2014 Legislative Wrap-Up

The rotunda at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.
Credit M.O. Stevens via Wikipedia Commons

Oregon lawmakers wrapped up the 2014 legislative session. As might be expected, a lot of big ideas were brought forward in January, but by the end of the session relatively few survived. JPR’s Liam Moriarty spoke with Northwest News Network capital correspondent Chris Lehman to get the lowdown on what did – and didn’t – get done.

Timber Economy
4:01 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Rough and Ready Mill To Re-open

Travis Griess stacks lumber at the Rough and Ready mill, a day after it announced its shut down and laid off most of its workers in April, 2013.
Credit Amelia Templeton/EarthFix

Nearly a year ago, the last commercial sawmill operating in southern Oregon’s Josephine County shut its doors, laying off 85 workers. Now, the Rough and Ready Lumber Company is gearing up to re-open, with the help of financing facilitated by the government and conservation groups.

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First...The News
11:31 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Upon My Return

Coming back to JPR after nearly nine years has been a happy challenge for me.  In some ways, it’s been déjà vu all over again...

Last time I was in the JPR newsroom, I worked in the same studio and sat at the same desk as I do now. I’m working with a lot of the same people, too. And when I was moving back in, deep in one drawer I even found some old business cards of mine, from when I was JPR’s News Director in 2002–2005.

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Business
7:26 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Out of the Shadows: An Emerging Cannabis Industry Seeks Respectability

Credit Liam Moriarty/Jefferson Public Radio

On Monday, the Oregon Health Authority started accepting  license applications for the first state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries. The law’s supporters hope to assure patients safe access to their medicine. But as a rapidly expanding list of states allows medical marijuana – and with Washington and Colorado legalizing recreational use of pot – a growing cohort of entrepreneurs hears opportunity knocking.

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