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 / 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.

Oregon Governor's Office

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

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). 

Lee Winslow/ODF

SUNDAY 9:30 PM:

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.

SUNDAY NOON:

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.

Keith Henty/KeithHenty.com

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.

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.

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.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Last month, the Tony Award for Best Play went to “All The Way,” a look at Lyndon Johnson’s sudden rise to the presidency and his push to pass the landmark Civil Rights Acts of 1964.

The play – written by Robert Schenkken and directed by Bill Rauch -- premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, before going on to Broadway.

Next week, the sequel – “The Great Society” – opens at OSF. Jefferson Public Radio'’s Liam Moriarty spoke with Bill Rauch and got a preview of the next chapter in this historical saga.

PGHolbrook/Wikimedia Commons

A Britain-based company is making preliminary moves that could lead to a 4,000-acre open-pit nickel mine being established in the headwaters of the Smith and Illinois Rivers in southwest Oregon.

The firm says it’s at the beginning of a long process of evaluating whether such a mine would even pencil out. But opponents in Oregon and California are taking no chances.  They’re going all-out to kill it in the cradle.

Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz via Wikimedia Commons

This week, the US Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to California’s clean fuel law.

Supporters of the law – and of similar efforts in Oregon and Washington – say the high court’s decision clears the way for the West Coast to take the lead in reducing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. But opponents in the petroleum industry say the law is still a bad idea.

I always get a chuckle when I hear people say they don’t follow the news because it’s ”filtered.” What they want, they declare, is “unfiltered” news.

Good luck with that.

Renee Edde

The New York Times has called Krishna Das “The Chantmaster of American Yoga.” The one-time rock’n’roller turned spiritual devotee has earned a following with his soulful voice and heartfelt approach to traditional Indian devotional chant. JPR’s Liam Moriarty recently spoke with the Grammy-nominated singer, who will be performing in Ashland on July 1.

Zoey/http://www.livetiny365.com/

Since 1950, the size of the average American house has nearly tripled, to more than 2,400 square feet. Not coincidentally, US consumers on average also pay a much larger portion of their income on keeping a roof over their heads.

Now, as JPR’s Liam Moriarty reports, a small but growing number of people – in the Northwest and beyond -- are scaling back their housing needs and trading square footage for more time and freedom. 

OUS

Southern Oregon University has a new president.

Dr. Roy Saigo was approved as the interim president of SOU on Friday at a meeting of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. The vacancy was created when current SOU President Dr. Mary Cullinan announced she accepted the job as president at Eastern Washington University near Spokane.

SOU

Second time's the charm.

Just a month after being a finalist for a job at Youngstown University in Ohio, Southern Oregon University President Mary Cullinan has announced she's leaving SOU at the end of June to assume the presidency of Eastern Washington University near Spokane.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

It’s been ninety years since the last native California wolf was trapped and killed. Last week, Oregon wildlife officials announced that OR-7, the wolf they’ve tracked wandering in and out of northern California, had found a mate and fathered a new litter in southern Oregon.

That news contributes to the growing sense that it’s only a matter of time till wolves re-inhabit the Golden State. Against this backdrop, California wildlife officials extended endangered species status to the gray wolf.

Edward J. O'Neill/National Fish and Wildlife Service

A Senate hearing in Washington, DC Tuesday  marked the legislative debut of an ambitious bill by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden meant to end, once and for all, the water wars in the Klamath Basin.

Harland Quarrington/Wikimedia Commons

Maker spaces and hacker spaces are a growing phenomenon. They’re places where everyday people gain access to the tools – and the collaborative inspiration – to combine art, engineering and technology in new and innovative ways. Sometimes these projects become incubators for products and inventions with enormous potential. 

In Medford, the Rogue Hack Lab is a local expression of this global movement.

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.

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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