Results for Think Out Loud (Other Results)

Environmental Update

In 2006 the Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) sued the Oregon Department of Forestry for allowing muddy water runoff from logging roads to pollute streams and rivers in the Tillamook State Forest. The NEDC argued that this muddy water was industrial pollution as defined by the Clean Water Act, and by 2011 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of their argument. This decision was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided to defer to the EPA's interpretation of the Clean Water Act. The EPA has historically excluded this type of muddy water runoff as a form of industrial pollution, and recently changed the definition of industrial pollution to exclude logging road runoff. In other news, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have drafted a bill that would restore tribal ownership over land that was traded to the U.S. government in 1855. Though this is great news for tribal leaders who hope to revive former cultural and religious sites, Doug Robertson of the Association of O & C Counties has said he is concerned that this would mean a loss of timber revenue for counties that are struggling financially.

Segmentarticle - March 25, 2013

Live In Salem With Governor Kitzhaber

We'll kick off our show from the Capitol with Governor John Kitzhaber talking about a few hot topics in the legislature right now, including: Reforming the Public Employees Retirement Union Gun control Efforts to help timber counties

Segmentarticle - April 10, 2013

Sen. Ron Wyden Takes Your Questions

This February, Sen. Ron Wyden took over as chair of the Senate Finance Committee. We'll hear about the new role, and take your questions.

Segmentarticle - April 14, 2014

Josephine County Sheriff Asking Volunteers To Help Investigate Crime

In cash-strapped Josephine County, Sheriff Gil Gilbertson is reaching out to the community to recruit volunteer crime-solvers.

Segmentarticle - April 8, 2014

Recounting The Lost Pacific Empire of Astoria

Peter Stark tells the adventure-filled story of John Jacob Astor's audacious but doomed plan to create a commercial fur empire in the northwest.

Segmentarticle - March 10, 2014

Timbers Kick Off 2014 Season

The Portland Timbers play their first official game of the 2014 season against the Philadelphia Union at Providence Park this Saturday.

Segmentarticle - March 7, 2014

Environmental Update

We've got a round-up of some of the region's major environmental stories from the EarthFix team.

Segmentarticle - Feb. 27, 2014

Our Town Southern Oregon

For the final day of the Our Town tour this year, we head to southern Oregon: Lakeview and Roseburg. Lakeview The town of Lakeview sits in south-central Oregon a mere 15 miles from the California border. Residents can drive to Reno, Nevada in four hours — half the time it takes to get to Portland. Several schools, ranching, a mill, and a prison provide many jobs for the town. Additionally, natural resource industries are an integral part of Lakeview's economy. A natural gas pipeline finished construction last year, and PGE recently announced plans for its first commercial-scale solar power facility in Lakeview. The town has begun to embrace geothermal energy, though early attempts have sparked some controversy. The town was slated to be the site of an Iberdrola biomass plant, but low energy prices have put the project on hold indefinitely. Lakeview is also home to an FSC-certified timber operation. The surrounding area is known for its prime hang gliding and birding territory. As always, we've put together a companion website for Lakeview. Head over there to check out our interactive map which includes interviews and photographs of the people and places of Lakeview.

Segmentarticle - Dec. 28, 2012

Our Town: Baker City

Baker City is a town that has seen a lot of ups and downs. The community of about 10,000 is situated in the high desert of eastern Oregon, surrounded by sagebrush and snow-dusted mountains. More than 100 years ago, miners came in search of gold and then settled in. Timber mills once flourished in Baker City, until major reductions of logging on public lands. The city was once a railroad hub, but after cars became popular the rail lines to Baker were abandoned. Even the name "Baker City" has gone through big changes. In 1911 residents dropped "city" from the name, deciding that it sounded too quaint. In 1990, citizens voted to go back to the original name (although you still hear longtime residents refer to the community as simply "Baker.") Today, Baker City is a town working to embrace its dynamic history while also forging a new economic path. The community is working to bring tourism to downtown with its brick storefronts, an historic (and possibily haunted) hotel, and old, opulent buildings. The natural beauty of the nearby Wallowa Mountains and Anthony Lakes ski resort give visitors a reason to stop in, too, and the community is also working to brand itself as a destination for cyclists. There are festivals and arts events year-round in this community, like the annual Great Salt Lick Contest or the short film festival that happens each June. Baker City is not near any metropolitan areas, which means it's a place that attracts people who really want to live there. As Baker City resident Ann Mehaffy says, people live in Baker either because they grew up there and they know it and love it, or because they're "city runaways who are looking for a sense of authenticity, history and community."

Segmentarticle - Dec. 17, 2012

Malheur Lumber Fights to Keep Doors Open

Last month, the only remaining sawmill left in Grant County announced that it would close its doors after running for over 30 years. However, after a huge uproar by some unlikely allies including environmental groups, senators and the timber industry, Malheur Lumber Co. was able to pull through and save their 90 employes. The US Forest Service will lend a hand in funding the effort. It is currently in the process of drafting a 10 year agreement that will try to ensure the company stays afloat. The groups hope the allocated resources and funding will keep the mill active. The sawmill will be used on thinning and restoration projects in Malheur National Forest, which should help decrease the chances of wildfires. Malheur Lumber Company will continue to operate their biomass facility as well.

Segmentarticle - Sept. 19, 2012

Failure to Appear in Court

Warrants are piling up in cash-strapped Josephine County. Defendants there have been skipping their scheduled appearances in court. Earlier this month, Judge Lindi Baker issued "failure to appear" warrants in 15 out of 28 cases. Josephine County is among many rural Oregon counties that has suffered severe budget cuts due to the loss of federal "timber payments" earlier this year. Even a one year extension of the subsidy didn't help all that much. Voters also turned down a levy that would have helped to bridge the budget gap. According to the Associated Press, Cuts have reduced rural sheriff's patrols, prosecutors and juvenile shelter and detention programs. More than 80 criminal justice system employees lost their jobs.

Segmentarticle - Aug. 21, 2012

Our Town: Roseburg

Roseburg, Oregon is a city of 21,790 in the southwestern part of the state. It's within 100 miles of three of the state's national forests, which is why its history is so closely entwined with the that of the timber industry. After World War II, Roseburg was known as the Timber Capitol of the Nation, due to the abundance of Douglas Fir lumber produced in and around the small city. The spike in demand for housing, and lumber to build it, also made way for the philanthropy that still continues in Roseburg today. Family-owned timber companies still employ many Roseburg residents, but these businesses are no longer the backbone of the community they once were. The recession has been particularly rough for the industry, especially due to the decline in home-building. The choices students are making about what to study at Umpqua Community College (UCC) are a good indicator of what's next for this town. Healthcare, particularly nursing, is a popular field and there's a brand new addition to the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at UCC. The program offers a one-year certificate and an associate's degree. Both paths teach students how to cultivate grapes and how to make them into wine. The local wine industry has experienced a recent growth spurt, but it also has a rich history in the region, which has always been home to fertile farmland. We've put together a companion website for the Our Town series. Head over there to check out our interactive map,  which includes interviews and photographs of the people and places of Roseburg. Here are some photos from our live show at Joe Monkey:

Segmentarticle - June 1, 2012

Distressed Oregon Counties

It's been just over two weeks since Josephine county released some very serious offenders from its jail in  Grants Pass. Sheriff Gil Gilbertson says crime has not noticeably increased in that short time. However, he says the public safety budget has been "decimated" and the only crimes that he and his three patrol deputies will be able to pursue are Measure 11 crimes. Curry county, another timber-dependent county, is trying to deal with its ever-dwindling resources by creating a separate health non-profit to provide for public health. Meanwhile, the Oregon Secretary of State's office has come out with the first-ever comprehensive review of the financial health of all 36 Oregon counties. Not surprisingly, the timber payment-dependent counties — including Josephine and Curry — ranked among the most distressed. Secretary of State Kate Brown says the report does not make specific recommendations but it does provide a kind of menu of options for counties and state governments based on how some other states have handled similar financial situations. 

Segmentarticle - June 18, 2012

An Update on the Lane County Jail Crisis

Around 400 inmates have been granted early release from the Lane County Jail since it made budget cuts in late June. The county is keeping beds only for the offenders that rank as the most dangerous on its risk assessment tool.     Among the inmates released in late June, there were three Measure 11 offenders who have been convicted of crimes as serious as manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. The county has also seen 17 early release offenders readmitted for robbery and assault charges since late June. The case of 23-year-old James Vannoy made headlines this week. He was taken back to the county jail on charges of harassment only a day after being held for vandalizing a non-profit thrift store.  The Lane County Sheriff's July newsletter foreshadowed this revolving door effect. It stated that the 152 local beds left as a result of the closures were "a far reach from the estimated 1000 beds needed for a County the size and population of Lane."  Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner told us the root of the county's funding problems is its unusually low property tax rate and the fact that much of the county lies on federal land that was once funded by timber sales.  And with funding remaining an issue, the sheriff doesn't expect to see relief for the county anytime soon. "It's like continual musical chairs, except we have a finite amount of jail beds and an infinite number of suspects." he says.

Segmentarticle - Aug. 1, 2012

Curry County Hosts Public Safety Summit

Public officials from Oregon's economically struggling timber counties and the state capitol are gathering in Curry County to discuss funding public safety.

Segmentarticle - Jan. 24, 2014

Portland Timbers Head for Playoffs

THURSDAY: After a successful season, the Portland Timbers will face the Seattle Sounders in the MLS playoffs on Saturday.

Segmentarticle - Oct. 31, 2013

Oregonians Cope With Government Shutdown

Well into the second week of the federal government shutdown, Oregonians are dealing with furloughs, delayed benefit payments, and a variety of other issues.

Segmentarticle - Oct. 10, 2013

Summer Recess Conversation: Kurt Schrader

The U.S. Congress is in recess and its members are now back in their home districts. We'll catch up with Oregon's delegation, starting with the 5th District's Kurt Schrader, a Democrat and member of the Blue Dog Coalition. Just before the recess, Schrader saw a bill he helped write with Oregon representatives Peter DeFazio and Greg Walden pass out of the Natural Resources Committee. The bill, if it passes, will allow Oregon loggers to more than double their harvest of lumber in Federal forests formerly part of the Oregon and California Railroad. Oregon Wild has called the plan "a bad deal." We'll talk with Representative Schrader about that bill, his attempts to foster bipartisanship, the federal budget, and much more.

Segmentarticle - Aug. 13, 2013

News Roundtable: September 27, 2013

We review some of the biggest state, national and international news stories of the week.

Segmentarticle - Sept. 27, 2013

Polk County Proposes a Public Safety Levy

The Polk County Commissioner's Office unanimously voted to add a public safety levy to the ballot in the November elections. The levy would collect 60 cents for every 1,000 dollars of property value. Recently, the Polk County Sheriff's was forced to switch to 20 hour patrol shifts, and were only spared layoffs when 4 deputies voluntarily left the department. If the levy fails, the Polk County District Attorney's Office said they would be forced to stop prosecuting Class B and C misdemeanors, such as shoplifting and tresspassing. The proposal comes on the heels of Josephine and Curry counties rejecting similar levies in the wake of major public safety concerns. 

Segmentarticle - Aug. 20, 2013

Summer Recess Conversation: Peter DeFazio

Peter DeFazio has served 26 years in Congress, making him the longest serving of Oregon's representatives (though Senator Ron Wyden gets the nod for longest time in D.C. when you include his term as a representative from 1981-1996). DeFazio rose to the ranking Democratic seat on the House Natural Resources Committee this summer. Unsurprisingly, some of the most high profile work of his current term has involved trying to find a solution to the ongoing financial problems on Oregon & California Railroad lands. The proposal that DeFazio, and fellow Oregon congressmen Greg Walden and Kurt Schrader introduced in the House, has been met with varying degrees of criticism from environmental groups, Sen. Wyden, and DeFazio's predecessor in the 4th District, Jim Weaver. The bill has been supported by many officials in the affected counties. DeFazio has also been pushing a bill that would increase legal liability for companies that collect patents in bulk and then sue businesses that may violate those patents. The bill would make the so-called "patent trolls" responsible for all legal fees in the case. He has also been pushing for resources to fight wildfires, keep rural post offices open, and sustain funding for food stamps.

Segmentarticle - Aug. 19, 2013

A Deeper Look At The Plan For O&C Counties

In our recent congressional recess conversations with Representatives DeFazio and Schrader, we spent time digging into their legislation that would increase timber harvests with O&C forests. The congressional delegation is trying to find funding for formerly logging-dependent counties, as federal subsidies to those counties have all but dried up. The plan is to divide the land roughly in half, with part of the land dedicated to logging, and the rest held for conservation. The legislation was influenced by a panel convened by Governor Kitzhaber that included stakeholders from the counties, timber companies, and environmental interests.  But the members of that panel aren't convinced the proposed law serves all of their interests. Conservation groups are concerned with how the land was divvied up — they say some of the land dedicated to logging is critical for spotted owls and other species.

Segmentarticle - Aug. 21, 2013

Summer Recess Conversation: Ron Wyden

After 32 years in Congress — first as a representative, then a senator — Ron Wyden is enjoying the highest public profile he's probably ever had. His rise to chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this year was already a boost in stature, but his prominence ballooned even further when Edward Snowden disclosed NSA surveillance practices. As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Wyden had been warning of the surveillance tactics of the U.S. government for years, but the issue wasn't as important to Congress and Americans until the Snowden leaks. Wyden has continued to express skepticism and concern over the Obama administration's statements regarding the NSA disclosures. In his role at the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he has focused on waste cleanup facilities at Hanford, small hydropower projects, wildfire prevention, and Klamath Basin water issues. His plan for how to manage the O&C timber counties is expected to be announced in the fall, when work will begin to reconcile it with the House plan, introduced by Representatives DeFazio, Schrader, and Walden.

Segmentarticle - Aug. 22, 2013

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