The Jefferson Exchange

News & Info: Mon-Fri • 8am-10am | 8pm-10pm

JPR's live call-in program devoted to current events and news makers from around the region and beyond. Participate at:  800-838-3760.  Email:   Check us out on Facebook.

Or suggest a guest for The Exchange.

University of Oregon

Fractals, those mathematical patterns, are fun to look at. 

And they may also help people with the ABILITY to look. 

University of Oregon physicist Richard Taylor was just awarded a patent for a fractal-based implant designed to help blind people see. 

Oregon may double its bottle deposit to a dime, but some people think it's time to do away with bottle returns. 

Let's hear what you think about that, and about the current state of affairs in the race for president, in this week's VENTSday. 

Why should the politicians and activists have all the fun?  You've got opinions on events in the news, too.  And our VENTSday segment is designed to let the world hear them. 

We plop a pair of topics on the table--frequently unrelated--and let YOU deliver your passionate (and polite) views on them. 


Plenty of memoirists join us on the Exchange, sharing stories we might not have heard otherwise. 

But you don't need the title "memoirist" to tell your own story. 

That is precisely the point of Alan Gelb's book Having The Last Say: Capturing Your Legacy in One Small Story

Even if you don't think of yourself as a writer and never will, there are tips in the book to assembling a coherent story or set of stories from your own life. 


The end of container service at the Port of Portland may sound at first like a story affecting just the Portland area. 

But the port says ships carried containers going to and from 31 of Oregon's 36 counties, affecting exports and imports across the state. 

The Agriculture Transportation Coalition, the State of Oregon and other entities are hosting workshops across the state, to help importers and exporters find solutions that do not involve shipping out of Portland. 


Peninsula Airways out of Alaska generally goes by the name PenAir these days. 

Air travelers in Klamath Falls and Crescent City are not about to quibble with the name, because PenAir has agreed to fly to those airports. 

This will bring commercial flights back to Klamath Falls for the first time in a year. 

Simon & Schuster

The Oregon Trail's role in the westward expansion of the United States is beyond dispute. 

But that's different from actually recreating the journey in today's world. 

Who'd want to, with the long, dusty days, the chilly nights, the lack of water and creature comforts? 

Rinker Buck, that's who.  And the writer even convinced his brother to join him for a journey retracing the Trail, from Missouri to Oregon. 

It's all in his book The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey


Police and mental illness... not an ideal combination, but one that happens all the time. 

And it turned ugly last month in Eugene. 

Police arrested a woman who tried to protect her son, reported to be having an episode of mental illness, from police.  The woman's brother happens to be Eric Richardson, the president of the Lane County chapter of the NAACP

He has taken his condemnation of the incident public, while police point to an ongoing issue with officers having to respond to people dealing with mental illness. 

Penguin Books

In the days before Las Vegas went upscale, with big fountains and hotels that replicate foreign cities, there was Binion's Horseshoe. 

It got a reputation as the noisiest and rowdiest casino in downtown Vegas. 

Benny Binion started the place after the police chased him out of Dallas. 

Binion's rise from thug to mogul is told in Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker


August is already a week old, but there are major arts events still to come. 

The West Coast Country Music Festival returns to the Greensprings near Ashland in the middle of the month. 

The New Autonomous Folksingers visit our studio for songs and info about the fest, as part of our First Friday Arts segment. 

Music, theater, dance and more are celebrated on First Friday.

Friends of Civic Stadium

Fans of Civic Stadium in Eugene had grand plans for the old baseball park, vacant for years. 

The plans turned to ashes when the stadium grandstand burned to the ground in late June. 

But feelings about Civic run deep, and something may yet emerge, phoenix-like, from the ashes. 

Penguin Books

The world had only three days to get used to the idea of nuclear weapons... when the second bomb dropped. 

It's been 70 years nearly to the day since an American atom bomb exploded over Nagasaki, Japan. 

And plenty of survivors are still around to talk about that day. 

Susan Southard talked to five of them about that day and the present day, for her book Nagasaki


The opponents of the Jordan Cove liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminal and pipeline are willing to go a long way to press their case.  232 miles, in fact. 

Pipeline opponents plan to "Hike The Pipe" later this summer, walking the entire length of the proposed pipeline route from the Klamath Basin to Coos Bay. 

They are collecting permissions from landowners and donations from supporters for the walk, scheduled for August 22nd through September 26th.

Don Crossfield retired from teaching full-time three years ago. 

And people still can't stop thanking him for his work, and rewarding it. 

The former Roseburg High School math teacher (he still subs) recently picked up an award from the Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics for his years of making his subject matter crystal-clear to students. 

Penguin Books

"I think, therefore I am."  Rene Descartes said it succinctly, but nearly 400 years later, we still struggle to fully comprehend the idea of SELF. 

If we change physically, does that mean we change ourselves? 

Before you attempt to answer, listen as we talk to Anil Ananthaswamy about his brand-new book The Man Who Wasn't There: Investigations Into the Strange New Science of Self

U.S. Army/Public Domain

Everybody supports kids learning to read.  But factions begin to form over how and where. 

The people who run Josephine Community Libraries hope many people support kids learning to read, and nurturing a love of reading, in public libraries. 

JCLI has a tough task: running a county library system with no county operating support. 

So it is now working to crowdfund children's libraries in the county. 

How far are you willing to go to get ready for an earthquake?  And how much should we prepare and spend as a society?  That's one topic on this week's VENTSday. 

The other: what our states should be doing to stop rural areas from declining in population and vibrancy.

Our weekly VENTSday segment puts the listeners front and center. We throw a pair of topics on the table, and let callers and emailers vent--politely--on those topics.

Topics range from the global to the hyper-local, and all responsible opinions are welcome. We bring the topics, you bring the opinions.

Gotham Books

People who want to do good for other people and the world often get accused of being "bleeding hearts," or worse. 

William MacAskill has heard it all before.  And he agrees that efforts toward altruism are often derailed by lack of solid information and measurements. 

And he proposes ways around those potholes, in his book Doing Good Better.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

A lot of us saw smoke plumes rise in the air from nearby wildfires. 

And then we didn't see much at all, as the smoke settled into the valleys and obscured the view.  Worse, it created potential health challenges through worsening air quality

Parts of the Rogue Valley spent the weekend with air listed in the "hazardous" range. 

Retired environmental toxicologist Bruce Hope once worked for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and still volunteers on its Air Toxics Advisory Committee.

Wikimedia Commons

The letters G, M, and O aren't even words, but they've certainly become fighting words.

Witness the U.S. House of Representatives' recent passage of HR 1599. 

Officially, it's the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015," a move to prevent states from passing their own genetically modified (GMO) food labeling laws. 

Which is why anti-GMO groups call it "the DARK Act"--for "Deny Americans the Right to Know"--and some other names we won't print. 

One of the most-debated provisions concerns local bans on GMO crops, as in Jackson County. 

Would the bill prohibit those or not?  We hear both opinions in this hour... Gail Greenman from the Oregon Farm Bureau says there's no such provision. 

She'll be followed by George Kimbrell at the Center for Food Safety, who says there is. 

The source of global warming is up there, but not visible: the greenhouse gases that are warming up the planet.

The solution is up there, too: energy from the sun.  So says Robert Arthur Stayton in his book Power Shift: From Fossil Energy To Dynamic Solar Power

He shoves aside the concerns about expense and economic dislocation, and paints an optimistic picture of a future in which we get 100% of our power needs met by the sun.