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.


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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40% Of All Electric Cars In US Sold In California
7:31 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

West Coast Leads Surge in Electric Cars

A pair of Nissan Leaf electric cars charging up at a public charging station.
Credit Kowloonese/Wikipedia Commons

In all three West Coast states, transportation accounts for the largest share of climate-changing greenhouse gases. And all three states are trying to boost the number of zero-emission vehicles on their roads.

This week, California passed a milestone toward that goal; 100-thousand electric cars sold in the state since the end of 2010.

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Fire Season
5:33 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Touched By Fire: Stories From The Oregon Gulch

Green Springs Fire Chief Gene Davies on Copco Road near the starting point of the Oregon Gulch fire
Credit Liam Moriarty/JPR

Summer is ending, but fire season in the Northwest is still with us. The Oregon Gulch fire was southern Oregon’s largest so far this season, blackening nearly 56 square miles of Jackson, Klamath and Siskiyou counties.

Several homes were lost, others were saved and a rural mountain community came face-to-face with the reality of sudden danger and loss.

Jefferson Public Radio’s Liam Moriarty traces the path the fire took as it marked the lives of those it touched.

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4:42 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Nominees For Regional University Boards Announced


The governor's choices to sit on the newly-formed boards that will oversee Oregon's regional and technical universities have been named.

The names, announced Monday morning by Governor John Kitzhaber's office, include prospective Board of Trustee members for Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Western Oregon University in Monmouth and Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.

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"Fire Activity Is Very Low"
6:16 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Thursday Update: Rain, Cooler Temps Dampen Rogue River Drive Fire

UPDATE: THURSDAY, August 14, 10:30 AM

A let-up in thunderstorm activity -- plus significant rainfall and cloud cover -- has helped fire crews get a handle  on the fire between Shady Cove and Eagle Point in Jackson County.  

Brian Ballou, spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Forestry, told JPR that the shift in the weather has been a huge help to firefighters.

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Kitzhaber Gets Briefing At Fire HQ
12:30 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Oregon Gulch Fire Stabilized, Now 100 Percent Lined

Governor John Kitzhaber speaking at the Howard Prairie Lake campground.
Credit Liam Moriarty / Jefferson Public Radio

Fire crews battling Oregon 's biggest fire have finally gotten the upper hand.  Chris Cline, Oregon Department of Forestry  incident commander for the Oregon Gulch fire said that crews have completed the line around the eastern tip of the fire.

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3:44 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Kitzhaber To Visit Oregon Gulch Fire Wednesday

Credit Oregon Governor's Office

Fire officials will brief Governor John Kitzhaber on the scene of the Oregon Gulch fire Wednesday morning.

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10:15 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Tuesday Update: Crews Gain Ground On Oregon Gulch Fire

The Oregon Gulch fire, straddling the Oregon-California border southeast of Ashland, is Oregon's biggest active fire at 36,568 acres as of Tuesday morning.
Credit US Forest Service

UPDATE, TUESDAY, 9:00 a.m. -- Lower temperatures and higher humidity, coupled with lower winds, have resulted in little new fire activity on the Oregon Gulch fire that straddles the Oregon-California state line. The lull has given fire crews a chance to gain ground on the fire, which is now 30 percent contained.

It's also allowed authorities to lift evacuation orders along Copco Road in Siskiyou County and to lower the evacuations level along Copco Road from Hyatt Lake to the state line from Level 3 (Get out now) to Level 2 (Be ready to go at a moment's notice). 

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Separate Fire Closes US 97
1:10 pm
Sun August 3, 2014

10,000 Acres A Day: Oregon Gulch Fire Marches On

The Oregon Gulch Fire in its early stages. Note the red trees to the left, indicating a retardant slurry drop from a plane.
Credit Lee Winslow/ODF


ODF says crews "made excellent progress on the fire" during the day Sunday.  Fire acreage at 36,500+... first day since Thursday fire did not gain 10,000 acres during the day.


The Oregon Gulch Fire continues to burn through a vast swath of land on the Oregon/California state line, generating large amounts of smoke and obscuring dozens of other fires burning in the region.  The fire zone is south of Oregon highway 66 and generally east of Jenny Creek, with land scorched in Jackson, Klamath and Siskiyou Counties.

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Evacuations Jackson-Klamath-Siskiyou Counties
4:37 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

UPDATED: Oregon Gulch Fire Continues To Spread

A fire cloud forms over the Oregon Gulch fire, southeast of Ashland, on Thursday evening.
Credit Keith Henty/

Much of the Rogue Valley is shrouded in a smoky haze, as southern Oregon’s largest wildfire so far this season grows at a rapid pace.

The lightning-caused fire -- reported Thursday morning as 10 acres -- exploded across southeastern Jackson County overnight and spread into Klamath County as well as Siskiyou County, California.

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8:01 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Study Says Poor Planning Contributes To Wildfire Costs

An Oregon Army National Guardsman looks for spot fires around the Government Flats Complex fire from a Blackhawk helicopter, near The Dalles, Aug. 21, 2013.
Credit Oregon Military Department

Wildfires in the West are getting bigger, hotter – and more costly. A new report from a national science advocacy group says climate change is one major reason wildfires are getting worse.

And short-sighted development policies are a big reason they’re costing more.

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Borrowing From Peter ...
9:53 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Northwest Wildfires Boost Call For Funding Reform

Credit National Interagency Fire Center

Fires continue to rage through tinder-dry wildlands in Oregon, Washington and California. Nearly a million acres have burned so far, destroying more than 200 homes.

With the nation’s eyes turned toward the Northwest, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and the Obama Administration have taken the opportunity to renew their efforts to change how the federal government pays to fight -- and prevent – wildfires.

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