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 News

Managers at the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest are weighing how much of the area burned in Oregon’s largest fire last year should be salvage logged.

But while harvesting partially burned trees will put cash in local pockets, the forest health and fire safety benefits that proponents claim are more elusive.

Jes Burns / EarthFix

This was aired on NPR's All Things Considered on May 27, 2018


Now we're going to hear how parts of the West are preparing for wildfire season. Fire managers have already started to set what are called prescribed burns - fires that are set intentionally in a controlled area. The idea is to clear the forest so that if fires spark up over the summer, there's less fuel to burn.


Republicans in southwest Oregon are hoping that “fifth time’s the charm” for candidate Art Robinson.

Jes Burns / EarthFix

There’s broad agreement that fire plays a vital role in forest ecology in the West. Many of our problems with severe wildfires can be traced, at least in part, to a century of putting fires out, rather than letting them clean up excess forest fuels.

Now, there’s a need to deliberately set controlled fires to help re-establish a more natural fire pattern. 

But after a summer in which residents and tourists alike choked on foul air and many events were canceled due to heavy smoke, are people ready to put up with more smoke from prescribed burns?


The US Forest Service is proposing to log trees killed or damaged in last year’s Chetco Bar fire.

Jenny Graham, Oregon Shakespeare Festival

In 1626, officials of the Dutch West India Company claimed to have bought Manhattan Island from a local tribe. Before long, they drove the Indians from their homes.

Nearly 400 years later, millions of Americans lost their homes when Wall Street banks bundled shaky loans into triple-A-rated securities.

The confluence of these events is the canvas on which playwright Mary Kathryn Nagel paints “Manahatta.” The play had its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on April 1.

Western Values Project

A Montana-based environmental group is trying to pressure Oregon Congressman Greg Walden. They want him to oppose pending bills that would shrink some national monuments and make it harder for presidents to create monuments in the future.

Ann McGarry

A fight over Oregon’s campaign finance laws could lead to huge changes in state elections. Now, backers of those changes say they’ll try to speed the process  way up.

JPR’s Liam Moriarty talks with OPB political reporter Dirk VanderHart to discuss the court case and the potential impact statewide.  

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Oregon’s sprawling Second Congressional District is the size of Missouri and encompasses roughly the eastern two-thirds of the state. Greg Walden -- the only Republican in Oregon’s delegation -- has represented the district since 1999, and has routinely been re-elected by huge majorities.

This year, seven Democrats are competing for the chance to unseat Walden in the fall.

Officials in Klamath County say a Nigeria-based email phishing scam last week resulted in personal information of some county workers and clients being compromised.


Oregon’s Second District Congress member Greg Walden says he believes stakeholders in the Klamath Basin can come together again to negotiate a comprehensive solution to the region’s water wars. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Students at Ashland High School joined others across the region – and the nation – in a walkout Wednesday morning to raise awareness about gun violence.

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

In Klamath Falls Tuesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order declaring a drought emergency in Klamath County. This is the 11th time a governor has declared drought in the Klamath in the past 16 years.

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

The crest of the Siskiyou Mountains runs along the Oregon-California border, linking the Coast Range with the Cascades. Ranchers have grazed cattle on the crest for over a hundred years.

Now, environmentalists say the exceptional biodiversity of the high-altitude meadows is being damaged by overgrazing.

Forest Service - USDA

A Utah Congressman’s attempt to get the Trump Administration to reverse an Obama-era ban on mining in southwest Oregon has failed.

Nickel mines proposed in recent years around creeks and rivers near the Kalmiopsis Wilderness ran into stiff local opposition. At the urging of Congressman Peter DeFazio and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, the Obama Administration placed 100,000 acres off-limits to mining for 20 years.

Last year, Representative Rob Bishop of Utah called the ban illegal, and asked the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to overturn it. DeFazio, Merkley and Wyden urged the Trump Administration to let the designation stand.

stevepb via pixabay

A survey by the Oregon Department of Transportation shows that 97 percent of the wheelchair curb ramps the department is responsible for don’t fully meet design standards.

Advocates say ODOT is hampering people with disabilities. But the department says the rating sounds worse than it really is.

Rvannatta via Wikimedia Commons

Last year’s intense fire season led to calls for more “treatment” of federal forests to remove excess fuel that can make for bigger, hotter wildfires.

In November, House Republicans -- including Oregon’s Second District Representative Greg Walden -- passed a bill to grease the skids for more work in the woods. The bill now awaits action in the Republican–controlled Senate.

But while there’s broad bipartisan agreement that more needs to be done to promote forest health,  the opposing sides can have very different pictures of what that looks like on the ground.

Liam Moriarty/JPR

Several thousand people gathered in Medford’s Hawthorne Park and marched to downtown on Saturday for the second annual Southern Oregon Women’s March. Many carried signs supporting a range of progressive causes and criticizing President Donald Trump.

Taking A Last Minute Look At Oregon's Measure 101

Jan 19, 2018
Chris Phan/Wikimedia Commons

If you haven’t voted yet in the special election on Oregon’s ballot Measure 101, you still have time. It’s too late to mail your ballot, but you have until 8 o’clock Tuesday evening to get it to an official ballot drop-box.

The measure is a complicated topic that involves how Oregon pays to provide health insurance to some of its most vulnerable residents. Kristian Foden-Vencil covers health care for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He talks with JPR’s Liam Moriarty to help explain what voters are deciding. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR

Recent decades have not been kind to rural Oregon. As natural resources come under increased pressure -- and the economy becomes more globalized -- small, resource-based communities have been hit hard. Port Orford, on Oregon’s south coast, is no exception.

But now, some people in Port Orford are trying innovative approaches to adapting traditional livelihoods to the new reality so their town can survive – and even thrive – in the 21st Century.