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
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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