Liam Moriarty

News Director

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for more than 25 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 digital platforms.  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 returned to JPR in 2013 to cover the stories and issues that are important to the people of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Liam was promoted to JPR News Director on May 1, 2019.

Liam Moriarty/JPR

The latest chapter in the long-running dispute over how to manage water in the Klamath Basin is playing out in northern California communities. 

Kerin Sharma

The Jordan Cove liquid natural gas project has been kicking around in Oregon for more than a decade. The plan to build an export terminal and pipeline in the southwest part of the state was shot down by federal regulators in 2016, but it resurfaced under the Trump Administration. A final federal decision on the project could come by the end of the year.

Projects like this are huge and complex and there are a lot of moving parts. So, where does it stand? JPR's Liam Moriarty spoke with OPB environment reporter Jes Burns to get an update. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order Wednesday creating a new council that will examine the efficacy of the state’s response to wildfire.

The Oregon Wildfire Response Council is charged with reporting their findings no later than Sept. 30.

Alan Sylvestre/OPB

With term limits looming, Kate Brown can't run for Oregon governor again. 

Which means she's got most of four years left to press for the programs she wants to see in Oregon state government, without having to stop for an election. 

The legislature is just getting started on its all-important budget-making session, and the governor is touring the state making the case for her priorities. 

Jes Burns / OPB

A panel of state and local fire officials told the audience at a forum in Medford Thursday night that the longer, more intense wildfire seasons the region has been experiencing are not going away anytime soon. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Rising housing costs and lingering effects of the Great Recession are making it increasingly hard for many people to find an affordable place to live. Officials in Medford held a community meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the problem and possible solutions. 

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.


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.