Liam Moriarty


Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. He's reported on a wide range of topics – including politics, the environment, business, social issues and more – for newspapers, magazines, public radio and the web.  Liam was JPR News Director from 2002 to 2005, reporting and producing the Jefferson Daily regional news magazine. After covering the environment in Seattle, then reporting on European issues from France, he's returned to JPR to cover the stories and issues that are important to the people of Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Liam Moriarty/ JPR News

Close to 200 people gathered at North Medford High School Tuesday night to tell the Jackson County Commissioners how recent smoky summers had ruined vacations, damaged businesses and more.

Northwest Climate Impacts Detailed In National Report

Nov 26, 2018
NASA/Public Domain

The Northwest is already seeing the effects of climate change, according to a new national climate assessment. The 1,600-page report outlines dire consequences across the country as global temperatures continue to rise.

In the Northwest, the changes threaten much of what our region holds dear – from ski seasons to salmon runs. OPB environment reporter Cassandra Profita spoke with JPR’s Liam Moriarty about what the report had to say. 

Liam Moriarty / JPR News

Oregonians from Portland to Ashland took part Thursday evening in a nationwide series of demonstrations. The actions were to support special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible involvement by President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Author, activist and one-time Jackson County Commissioner Jeff Golden decisively defeated Medford tech entrepreneur Jessica Gomez to reclaim Oregon’s Third District Senate seat for the Democrats.

Golden led Gomez 56 to 44 percent in early returns, and received a concession call from Gomez shortly before 10 PM Tuesday.

Voters in northern California's 1st and 2nd House Districts have decisively re-elected their incumbent Congressmembers.

In the 2nd District, Democrat Jared Huffman trounced his Republican challenger Dale Mensing by a 3-to-1 margin in the 2nd District. This is the third time Mensing has run against Huffman. He's lost by a similarly lop-sided margin each time.

This will be Huffman's fourth term representing the district, which encompasses the north coast from the Oregon state line to Marin County.

For reporters in southern Oregon and northern California, late summer to early fall has traditionally been “fire season.” In the newsroom, nobody gets to take vacation between July 15 and September 15; it’s all hands on deck.

That often means long days in the field and long days on the phone, tracking down the latest updates on the fires affecting JPR listeners. 

Craig Hyatt via OPB

Police tried to shoot a cougar on the campus of Southern Oregon University in Ashland Sunday night. This is the latest in an escalating series of cougar sightings in town. 

Jamie Dannen/BLM

A Congressmember from Utah is renewing his efforts to undo a ban on mining near several pristine waterways in southwest Oregon.  And federal lawmakers from Oregon are once again pushing back. 

By Ewen Denney via Wikipedia

Federal scientists have updated their assessment of the threat posed by the nation’s volcanos. It turns out 11 of the 18 volcanos rated at the “Very High” threat level are in Oregon, California and Washington.

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

West Coast businesses that depend on the summertime tourist dollar took a big hit from this years’ wildfires and smoke.

The same thing happened last year. And two years before that. Now, the idea that smoky summers may become the norm is beginning to take hold, and tourist operators -- and the towns that rely on them -- are looking for ways to adapt.

Oregon’s Third Senate District encompasses roughly the southern half of Jackson County, from Medford to the California line. It’s also a district that could determine whether the state’s Democratic legislators get the super-majority that would enable them to pass spending measures without Republican votes.

The two candidates for the seat met in a town hall-style forum Thursday night sponsored by Southern Oregon University and Jefferson Public Radio.

GREG N -- @GREGNOEL on Twitter, via the Vancouver Sun

UPDATE: THURSDAY, OCT. 11, 4:30 p.m. -- Utilities in Oregon and Washington have told their customers they can resume normal use of natural gas. They'd asked users to conserve yesterday, after a pipeline in Canada exploded, disrupting the flow of gas to much of the Northwest. The blast disrupted natural gas deliveries from British Columbia to southern Oregon.

Steve Boutcher, courtesy, 3155 via the Oregon Encyclopedia

An “on-again-off-again” proposal for a nickel mine in southwest Oregon is on again. And members of both Oregon’s and California’s congressional delegations have written to federal officials to demand the lawmakers be kept in the loop.


Increasingly, wildfires and the smoke they cause are becoming the daily reality of summer in southern Oregon and northern California. On Saturday, several hundred people gathered at Southern Oregon University to hear a series of panel discussions on how local communities could respond.

Liam Moriarty.JPR News

In late July, the Carr fire swept through parts of Redding, California and the surrounding area. Now, residents are faced with burned hillsides and more than a thousand home sites contaminated with toxic ash. What are the potential environmental impacts? JPR’s Liam Moriarty went to find out.

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Many residents of southern Oregon and northern California are into their seventh week of poor air quality. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is proposing a bill that would help people pay for temporary housing to escape unhealthy air from wildfire smoke. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR NEws

Last month, the Carr Fire forced nearly 40,000 people to flee their homes in Redding and the surrounding area. More than a thousand homes were destroyed and many businesses took a major hit. Now, as the smoke literally begins to clear, residents are dealing with the economic fallout of the disaster.

Oregon Considers Changing Smoke Rules

Aug 30, 2018
Geoffrey Riley

Oregon is considering changes to how it regulates smoke. The idea is to make it easier to use intentionally-set wildland fires – called “prescribed fires.”  

By burning off brush and woody debris at times of the year when fire danger is low, land managers hope to reduce the dry fuels that can stoke large wildfires. It’s those fires that have been causing most of the smoke we’ve been choking on for weeks now.

JPR’s Liam Moriarty spoke EarthFix reporter Jes Burns, who’s been covering the story.  

April Ehrlich/JPR News

The Carr Fire in northern California has slowed, as it moves past the city of Redding into rural areas to the north and west. As some evacuated residents are allowed back into their neighborhoods, they tell harrowing stories of panicked escapes, homes lost and lives changed forever.

Liam Moriarty/JPR NEws

When disasters strike, access to food is a top priority. With thousands still displaced by the Carr fire near Redding, the volunteer chefs of World Central Kitchen believe canned soup and bologna sandwiches aren’t enough.

In a commercial kitchen in downtown Redding, volunteers are slicing up pans of fresh herbed focaccia bread. Chef Jason Collis is overseeing today’s lunch:

"We’re doing Italian sausage and pepper pasta, with a sun-dried tomato pesto sauce."