The Jefferson Exchange

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

JPR's live interactive program devoted to current events and newsmakers from around the region and beyond. It airs on JPR's News & Information service. Choose that service from the stream above or find your station here.

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Much has been said about the big deficit in Oregon's public pension program, PERS. 

Now Stacy Bannerman has something new to say about it: PERS should get any of its investments out of companies that make weapons of war.  Bannerman, the head of Women's EcoPeace, brought her group and others into a coalition, calling upon state leaders to "divest PERS from the war machine." 

Josh Estey/AusAID

24 years ago, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure requiring all prison inmates to work full-time.  The ballot measure, which became part of the state constitution, spelled out that compensation for the work was not required. 

That arrangement and others like it are among the reasons that inmates across the country are on strike, and plan to stay on strike until September 9th. 

The actions inside prisons are being supported by demonstrations on the outside. 

Scott Sanchez/Wikimedia

One of the oft-expressed concerns about illegal immigration is that it leads to more crime. 

But study after study, by groups both left and right, shows that illegal immigrants actually commit crimes at rates lower than the general population. 

Benjamin Gonzalez O'Brien explores the numbers, the issues, and the efforts to address them in his book Handcuffs and Chain Link: Criminalizing the Undocumented in America

Public Domain, Wikimedia

Labor Day is supposed to be about celebrating the working people of America, in part by giving them the day off.  We jumped in with all of our feet, and grabbed some past interviews to run.  
At 8:00: one of our favorite regional authors--good books, good interviews--Amy Stewart, took a new tack in her writing with a novel based on a real person.  That is Girls Waits With Gun, her first book about Constance Kopp, tough guy in a skirt from 1914.  
At 9:00: Frank Sinatra would be 103 if he were around today.  The centenary of his birth was observed in 2015 by the book Sinatra's Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World

Public Domain,

A piece of history went missing in Coos Bay, and some people want it back.  At one time a billboard in Eastside (east of the Coos River) bore the names of local people who served in World War II. 

People remember it, but no one seems to know what happened to it.  Ed Keim leads the search, and he's enlisted Krystal Hopper from local veterans' groups to help find information and even recreate the billboard. 


Climate change has been mentioned many times over this summer's fire season.  It is among the reasons the season was so long, intense, and smoky. 

But outside forest boundaries, climate change will begin costing people more and more money; up to $15,000 a year, says a report from Natural Resource Economics in Eugene. 


You've probably seen at least a few of Swoosie Kurtz's acting roles.  She's been in so many things over the years, including TV roles in series that went beyond 100 episodes.  Twice. 

Her name alone makes her distinctive, a name shared with her pilot father's cobbled-together warplane in World War II: part swan, part goose.  That explains the title of Swoosie's memoir, Part Swan, Part Goose: An Uncommon Memoir of Womanhood, Work, and Family


The rampant use and abuse of opioid painkillers in our country has produced many responses.  Like the people who have worked hard to make sure that overdose antidotes like Naloxone are easily available. 

Humboldt County's leaders are directing their attention at the source: the county is suing opioid manufacturers in federal court.  It joins a growing list of public agencies seeking to sanction the drug companies that make Oxycontin and the other opioids. 

Underground History: Native Battle Sites

Aug 29, 2018
Southern Oregon University

Stories tall and short may be told of past events, but the ground generally does not lie.  And that's the appeal of archaeology: digging up the true story. 

Our partners at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology share stories of the trade every month in Underground History. 

This month, we talk about unearthing artifacts at the sites of battles between Native Americans and whites.  SOULA's Mark Tveskov has done much of this in our region, and he'll present a paper on a conference coming up at the Mashantucket Pequot Research Center in Connecticut. 


Maybe Cat Stevens/Yusuf said it best: "we're only dancing on this Earth for a short while." 

Someday, someone will remember us with kind words (we hope). 

Alan Gelb urges us--ALL of us--to take a stab at our own life story.  Not the whole thing, but a key part of it. 

Gelb even inspired non-writers with his book Having the Last Say


If you pay much attention to the details of wildland firefighting, you see references to "structural protection crews."  These are the firefighters trained to protect buildings in and near the forest, a different skillset to building lines around wildfires. 

The skills are needed because of people living in homes near and among the trees.  As fires grow bigger and more destructive, more people question the practice of living in fire-prone country. 

Jeffrey Kline researches this and other issues at the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis. 


Convincing people to get from place to place just on muscle power can be a hard sell in America.  It gets somewhat easier over time, as communities build more lanes and amenities for people to get around on foot and by bicycle. 

The Siskiyou Velo, a bicycle club in Southern Oregon, works to convince more people to use bicycles as transportation, not just recreation. 

And part of the process involves making the case for designing communities to better accomodate bikes.  Some of the attention is focused on the City of Medford

Minnesota Public Radio

We zoom down rural highways at 65 miles an hour (if we obey the limits), not thinking much about the passing countryside or what would happen if we broke down. 

When you stop to think about it, the people who moved west along the Oregon Trail were just barely this side of broken down.  They really knew little about what lay ahead of them. 

Journalist Rinker Buck and his brother Nicholas decided to see what that was like.  So they pushed themselves and a mule team over the old path, a journey told in the book Oregon Trail


In an age of rampant childhood obesity, more children are encouraged to walk or bike to school, rather than riding the bus.  Easier said than done in many rural areas, where bike lanes are narrow at best and sidewalks often non-existent. 

The Safe Routes to Schools program is designed to fix up areas where kids can get themselves to school without buses. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and other agencies are partners in SRTS. 

Liam Moriarty/ JPR News

The Karuk Tribe are getting back to traditional Native American fire management in a project with the U.S. Forest Service in Northern California.

The two groups will host a controlled burn near the Lower Klamath River as part of the Somes Bar project.

Anyone who practices a religion can appreciate the long traditions involved in worship.  Few can imagine trying to restore those traditions after a long absence. 

But that is what native communities face, as they work to continue traditions stopped by force, by killing, and by banishment to reservations. 

Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy, who teaches Native American studies at Humboldt State University, details the work of the Hoopa tribe in restoring a women's coming-of-age ceremony that had been stopped.  Her book is We Are Dancing For You.

TSGT Robert Wickley, Public Domain,

The infant mortality rate in the United States has been steadily declining over time.  One problem, though: the rate for African-Americans is roughly twice the rate for white Americans. 

That's many more black babies dying at or soon after birth relative to the population. 

Dr. Fleda Mask Jackson created one of many programs to target racism in the medical profession.  Dr. Jackson's program is called Save 100 Babies, and it's based in Atlanta.

Sometime in July, the U.S. Forest Service air tanker base in Medford pumped its millionth gallon of fire retardant into a plane. 

That was just a week after lightning started many fires around the region, and a figure usually not reached until the end of fire season.  Across the country, the use of the red slurry has doubled as fires and fire seasons have grown more intense. 


The expression "I lost myself" rolls off the lips fairly easily.  But it's a real thing for some people. 

For a variety of reasons, there are people who walk the Earth who feel like they are either missing parts of themselves--the "self" is gone--or actually believe they are dead. 

Anil Ananthaswamy tells some of the startling stories in The Man Who Wasn't There

By Ferran Pestaña from Barcelona, España - Grillo de matorral 01, CC BY-SA 2.0,

North America is one of the few parts of the world where insects are not a regular part of the human diet. 

So there's certainly space in the market for a cricket-as-food provider.  And Craft Crickets in Eugene is only too happy to fill that space. 

The company says it's the first licensed cricket farm in Oregon.