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.


Even smaller cities on the West Coast--think Yreka--once had a Chinatown, home to people from Southern China. They came here in the 19th century, to work on the railroads and in mines, and other places that needed laborers.

The departure of masses of workers from the other side of the Pacific is identified as the Chinese Diaspora, and it is a constant topic of study for historians and archaeologists.  Digs in Jacksonville and many other places around the region have helped tell the story of the people who left China for better prospects here. 

And there's a new book on those digs, Chinese Diaspora Archaeology in North America.  Chelsea Rose of the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA) is a co-editor with Ryan Kennedy. 

So now you know what this month's Underground History is about. 


In the age of social media, there are all kinds of people we call friends.  But how many of those friends would come to your aid if you were in need? 

That's the question Val Walker confronted when living along and recovering from surgery.  She tells her story, and those of many people in similar situations, in her book 400 Friends and No One to Call: Breaking through Isolation and Building Community


The economy is taking a major thrashing from the efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.  Donnie Maclurcan has proposed giving it a thrashing for a long time now. 

Maclurcan advocates a steady-state economy, one that does not require constant increases in consumption, through his work leading the Ashland-based Post Growth Institute

PGI's annual events include Free Money Day, where institute staff hand out money.  Congress is considering something like it to stimulate the economy now. 


Many workers have been ordered to stay home, as all kinds of workplaces shut down to thwart the growth of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

But plenty of people still have to work in a workplace outside the home, and more than a few are known to take the risk of working while feeling ill.  Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries, BOLI, reminds Oregon workers that even part-timers accrue sick time under state law. 

We hear about people who got strung out on drugs when they become statistics, like when they die of drug overdoses. 

Erin Khar offers up a personal story of addiction: her own.  Khar had a happy and enviable childhood, but got into drugs when she was 13. 

She spent the next decade and a half addicted to painkillers and ultimately, heroin.  The story is told in Khar's book Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me


As coronavirus effects expand, we'll work to take time at the beginning of each day's Exchange to catch up on local effects with JPR reporters.  Here, Erik Neumann phones in with news of hospitals and other health care providers bracing for the potential surge in patients. 

Siskiyou Crest Blog

Even kids who like school will find themselves staring out the window once in a while.  They get encouraged to look at the outdoors and really see what's there, in environmental education. 

This year several Southern Oregon schools plan to join up for the first-ever Southern Oregon Regional Envirothon.  It is modeled after the Oregon Envirothon, which pits teams of students in competition with each other, gathering information about ecosystems and the creatures that occupy them. 

The concept of a "council of elders" sounds like something from an earlier time, but there is such a thing extant now, in Josephine County. 

A council of elders, ranging in age from 60 to 90 years old, works to bridge differences between groups over thorny issues.  One discussion not long ago brought people of several political stripes together to discuss abortion. 

The Josephine County Council of Elders works (quietly) under the aegis of Peace House in Ashland. 

Life is tough enough for any teenager, with childhood dissolving away and adulthood not yet formed.  It's that much harder for a teenager emerging from the foster care or juvenile justice systems, facing adulthood with little guidance. 

Writer/journalist/lawyer Anne Kim focused on these people who arrive in the adult world more or less alone.  Kim's book is Abandoned: America’s Lost Youth and the Crisis of Disconnection

Her work buttresses recent claims that early adulthood is a developmental stage, one perhaps as important as early childhood. 

Laura Sherr © The Marine Mammal Center

Solar storms can have dramatic effects on the Earth, things like auroras in the sky where auroras do not normally appear.  Volatility on the sun can also affect some animals. 

And recent research gives solar storms the blame for gray whales stranding themselves.


Medical science is scrambling to keep up with the speed and intensity of the Covid-19 outbreak.  Every day brings new reports of infection, and government efforts to slow the spread of infection. 

Dr. Chunhuei Chi runs the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University and is following developments closely. 


The need to focus attention on the spread of the coronavirus outbreak leads us to stand aside for an hour.  Instead of the second hour of The Exchange, we present a special from NPR News called "COVID-19 – What You Need To Know." 

Host Lulu Garcia-Navarro pulls together experts and reporters for an overview of the virus and its effects and behaviors, followed by updates on public responses to the outbreak.  The hour will end with information you can use to keep yourself safe and infection-free, some of which you may certainly be doing already. 


As coronavirus effects expand, we'll work to take time at the beginning of each day's Exchange to catch up on local effects with JPR reporters.  Here, April Ehrlich phones in with news of impacts on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the larger tourism community. 

Southern Oregon University

Terry Longshore and Tessa Brinckman have long pushed musical boundaries with their flute-and-percussion duo, Caballito Negro. 

They join forces with Left Edge Percussion for a performance of "The Stone Tapestry," a work written for flute and percussion soloists. 

A performance was planned for Friday evening, (March 13), but the temporary ban on large gatherings in Oregon caused its postponement. 


The Digital Cinema major at Southern Oregon University is brand-new this year, but already attracting students and producing some dividends for the public. 

Those include the creation of a situation comedy pilot episode, with a plan to screen the episode in public on Saturday, March 14th (coronavirus restrictions may cancel). 

Jim Falkenstein, who has experience in comedy writing and production, is the instructor. 

Southern Oregon University

It's a rough time for higher education.  The recently announced shutdown of Concordia University in the Portland area makes the third institution of higher ed to shut down in the metro area in recent years. 

The surviving schools face increasing costs and declining enrollments as the "birth dearth" of the recession years makes its presence felt.  Southern Oregon University was recently singled out for financial vulnerability in a report to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). 

SOU President Linda Schott finds some flaws in the report's methodology.  She joins us to talk about it, along with Jim Pinkard, who runs the Office of Postsecondary Finance and Capital for HECC. 

A third guest is Nathan Grawe from Minnesota's Carleton College. 

Ashland Galleries Association

Art has the power to connect us to people and places and feelings.  In Molly McBrayer's case, art connects her to her grandmother. 

The late Nancy Puterbaugh was a respected plein air painter who did not start painting in earnest until late in life.  Her work is displayed alongside Molly McBrayer's art, which is frequently made with flowers and other plants. 

The work hangs at Ashland Natural Medicine


It's a fair bet that not a single woman thinks with any kind of warm glow about giving birth in jail or prison. 

But birth behind bars happens, and women have been known to get arrested with the intention of getting the health care that incarceration provides.  This is not one of those "welfare queen" stories; Carolyn Sufrin has met the women herself and treated them. 

Sufrin is both MD--an OB/GYN--and an anthropologist with a PhD.  She writes of what she found in Jailcare: Finding the Safety Net for Women behind Bars


If corporations can have the rights of people under the law, why not rivers?  The question made sense to Will Falk, and he answered it yes. 

Falk is a lawyer, and he got to represent the Colorado River in a lawsuit.  So he spent time along the river, in something of a conversation with it. 

Falk tells the story in his book How Dams Fall

Prindleman, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Spend enough time in one place outdoors, and you're bound to see a few things happen. 

So it was for Ronin Demele, who spent 25 years working as a wilderness ranger in the Trinity Alps.  Creatures great and small, humans included, caught his eye, and he conveys some of the stories in prose and poetry in Pacific Crest Trail: Mountain Encounters of a Wilderness Ranger