The Jefferson Exchange Team

Jefferson Exchange Team

The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. John Baxter is the senior producer, April Ehrlich is the producer and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.

To contact the producers to pitch a segment idea or make a comment about the show, email them at or call 541-552-7075.


Social separation has the major upside of potentially slowing the spread of Covid-19 to rates manageable by the health care system. 

But there are lots of downsides to people having to stay home most of the time.  One of them is the heightened possibility of domestic abuse in households of people cooped up together. 

Community Works in the Rogue Valley already runs programs to help women in abusive relationships and/or in need of shelter. 

April Ehrlich/JPR News

Several political and health leaders say this is a crucial time in the coronavirus pandemic.  This part of April will likely feature a continued increase in cases, and deaths, but the huge numbers of people staying home could finally "flatten the curve" of increase. 

Southern Oregon has not been hit as hard as the rest of the state, but health workers are braced for a possible surge.  Jackson County Medical Director Dr. Jim Shames returns to field questions about the virus and its handling. 

Dr. Wendy Warren, who holds the same position in Klamath County, also joins the conversation. 

Bartonlynch, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Three bored freshman-year college students decided to liven up their lives by stealing millions of dollars worth of rare artwork and manuscripts from a university library.

How and why they did it gets spelled out by one of the perps, Eric Borsuk, in his true crime memoir American Animals, which was made into a movie in 2018. Borsuk wrote the book with pencil and paper while he was serving a seven-year prison sentence.

OK, so we kind of gave away the ending. But the beginning and middle make for a wild tale. 

Applegate Neighborhood Network

The slowing of the economy has by no means stopped all activity.  The federal Bureau of Land Management still has a directive to sell timber from its lands in western Oregon. 

And BLM is getting some local resistance to the planned Bear Grub timber sale in and near the Applegate Valley.  Applegate Neighborhood Network members have many questions, including why so many large fire-resistant trees are being slated for removal. 


We may be using them a lot less these days, but our vehicles still get us around, and still can break down now and then.  That keeps Ashland Automotive busy with repairs. 

Owner Zach Edwards visits once a month to discuss car care issues in a segment we call The Squeaky Wheel. 


Any resident of our region can tell you about the recent history with wildfires.  They have grown larger and more destructive over time, as temperatures warm and droughts suck the moisture out of forests. 

Portlander Daniel Mathews observes and celebrates the natural history of the western states.  He looks at the challenges facing forests from the Rockies to the Pacific in Trees in Trouble: Wildfires, Infestations, and Climate Change.


April gets a first Friday, just like any month.  But coronavirus concerns mean this month does not get a First Friday, with capital letters. 

First Friday Art walks are cancelled, and other arts events have been postponed or cancelled.  So let's talk... we invite arts organizations to call and tell us how they are coping with the social distancing regime. 

And we want to hear from you: in the absence of live music, live theater, or even cinema, what are you doing for diversions in this time?

Politics and political activism have definitely moved to a less-important place as the coronavirus pandemic rolls on.  Not gone and not forgotten, but definitely overshadowed. 

Elections are still scheduled, and political demonstrations are still planned.  Those include the annual "Friendshipment Caravan" to take goods to Cuba sometime in the fall. 

A stop in Ashland was intended in the spring, but it has been canceled for now. 


If you could go back in time and change history, what would you do?  Trick question, because the prevailing view of time travel is that history cannot be changed. 

But wait, time travel is only science fiction... see, it gets complicated. 

James Gleick, a science writer, looked into the idea of time travel and all the details that have gotten attached to the concept, in his book Time Travel: A History

We go back in time--to 2017--and hear this interview again. 

João Felipe C.S./Public Domain

Farmers live among us and grow our food.  And a number of programs urge us to get to know local farmers better. 

Here's another place where Covid-19 concerns have made a dent: some people are reluctant to visit the farmer's market if it means being around clumps of other people. 

The American Farmland Trust just created a Farmer Relief Fund to assist farmers who have lost customers and money in the coronavirus crisis. 


Five years before most of the world got used to the term "coronavirus," Oregon Humanities got people to write letters to each other.  Not emails, but letters--you know, with a pen on a piece of paper? 

The "Dear Stranger" project is just a way for Oregonians who don't know each other to make a connection.  The value of that connection is raised just that much higher by the need for us to stay apart during the Covid-19 pandemic. 


The federal census is a massive undertaking in the best of circumstances.  And this year does not provide the best of circumstances. 

This or any census tries to get a head count of every single person in the country centered around the first of April, but this April 1st found a huge chunk of the population staying home, avoiding the spread of Covid-19. 

California Complete Count and Communities for a New California are among the partners working to get Californians counted despite the difficulty. 

The price tag on the recent stimulus package from Congress is staggering at $2.2 Trillion.  And the details are many, including one near and dear to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden

Wyden is the lead Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, and he worked to get long-delayed changes to the unemployment insurance program into the final bill. 


Normally we take some time on the Thursday before the First Friday of the month learning about band gigs in the coming weeks.  At the moment, there are no such gigs, as music venues are all shut down by virus concerns. 

So we asked Josh Gross, the producer/co-host of our Rogue Sounds segment, to approach things a little differently.  The assignment: bring in the sounds of five up-and-coming musical acts from here in the region, people to watch for when music shows resume. 


The pavement tends to rumble when a fire truck goes down the street.  But not all firefighting vehicles are huge and heavy. 

Witness the new vehicle being tested by Eugene-Springfield Fire: a three-wheeled electric FUV ("fun utility vehicle").  It helps that the maker of the machine is Arcimoto, which is based in Eugene. 


Hospitals in our region are braced for an increase of Covid-19 cases.  But so far, the load has been light: in Jackson County, only four people required hospitalization by the end of March. 

Asante Health System is looking ahead to handling more patients.  Its hospital in Ashland has opened an ICAR facility, for Infection Control, Assessment and Response, to handle patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 illness. 

Library of Congress

April Fools' Day has arrived, so we should talk about some fools.  Or at least some people who have perceived fools through history, especially fools occupying the office of the President of the United States. 

Donald Trump is an experienced hand with insults, but it's often been the Oval Office occupant on the receiving end of insults through our history.


In every crisis, there is opportunity.  But woe be to the people who use a crisis for an ill-gotten gain in income. 

The coronavirus pandemic has seen a rise in false cures and offers of supplies that will do nothing to stop the disease or its spread, and the Oregon U.S. Attorney's office is warning consumers to be cautious. 

Don't let the urgency of the moment spur a rash decision on buying something you haven't checked out completely. 


Most of us are living life differently to avoid getting sick from COVID-19.  Health workers are putting in long hours and enduring some risks in treating (and finding) people carrying the coronavirus. 

Updates on the situation help.  Dr. Jim Shames is the medical director at Jackson County Health and Human Services

Where did you top out in math--algebra, geometry, something else?  Mitchell Jackson and a lot of people he knew had to perform something called "survival math:" quick calculations to figure what it would take to survive a confrontation in a tough neighborhood. 

Jackson tells the story in his memoir Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family

He joined us last year for an interview in our segment The Keenest Observers, with Rob Goodwin.