Liam Moriarty

News Director

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 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.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

The persistent haze of smoke from the wildfires burning around the Northwest has led many people to wear face masks to protect their lungs. But health officials say many of those masks aren’t doing what the wearers think they are.

An outpouring of community support has led Oregon governor Kate Brown to reverse a decision to veto state funds for the renovation of the historic Holly Theatre in Medford. But she followed through on veto threats for two other projects championed by Medford’s state representative. 

Oregon Governor's Office

On Tuesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s office announced she’d veto more than $3.6 million in state funding for projects in the Medford area.

The move was clearly meant to punish Medford’s Republican state representative, Sal Esquivel , who had provided a key vote in exchange for that funding, but later backed a referendum to overturn that same bill.

JPR’s Liam Moriarty spoke with veteran political reporter Jeff Mapes from Oregon Public Broadcasting about this unusually public display of political hardball.

Oregon governor's office

Oregon Governor Kate Brown says she'll veto more than $3.6 million dollars in state funding for three projects in the Medford area in what seems to be an act of political payback aimed at Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, who championed the projects.

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Everybody needs care at some point in their lives. If not as elders, or when injured or sick, then certainly as children. But a study of what it calls the “care economy” in Oregon says the state is failing to invest in the social infrastructure needed to make high quality care available to everyone who needs it, at whatever stage of life.

BLM via Flickr

Opponents of expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon say the move was rushed through with little public notice. Supporters point to a series of well-attended public meetings and a comment period in which over 5,000 written comments were received.

But Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s visit to the monument last weekend showed that the community divide over the monument is far from resolved.

Bob Wick via BLM Flickr page

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wrapped up his weekend tour of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon on Sunday.

Among others, he met with a pro-monument group of conservationists, landowners and local elected officials, and with Oregon governor Kate Brown.

BLM via Flickr

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke toured the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon Saturday. He’s gathering information as part of President Trump’s order to review monuments designated by previous administrations. 


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will visit southern Oregon this weekend as part of the Trump Administration’s review of national monuments designated by previous administrations. 


Last Friday, the Oregon Legislature wrapped up its 79th Legislative Assembly. JPR’s Liam Moriarty spoke with OPB political reporter Jeff Mapes to get his take on what happened … and what didn’t. 


Oregon was a pioneer in voting to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.

The medical pot law turns 20 next year, and its future grows a bit fuzzier now that marijuana is also legal for recreational use. 

Why get a prescription for a drug you can buy over-the-counter?  That's just one of several questions raised in a series of stories from our partners at Oregon Public Broadcasting. 

By Dllu - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Over the past century, fossil-fuel powered automobiles have become the default transportation mode across the industrialized world, impacting everything from patterns of land use to foreign policy.

And while the dominance of cars has certainly had beneficial effects, it’s also taken a heavy toll in pollution, resource consumption and a range of social and public health ills.

A recent report from the University of California Davis envisions a future in which how we get around each day becomes cleaner, faster, greener .. and cheaper by combining three emerging technologies.

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Southern Oregon University is -- at least for now -- out nearly $2 million. A sophisticated email scam conned school officials into paying a construction contractor’s invoice into a fraudulent bank account. 

Liam Moriarty - JPR News

Several hundred people gathered in Ashland’s Lithia Park yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon to celebrate the life of 23-year-old Taliesin Namkai-Meche.

Born and raised in Ashland, the young man recently died when he was stabbed while trying to protect two teenage girls from an anti-Muslin tirade on a train in Portland.

UC Davis

There’s a new study of the effects of ocean acidification on tiny shell-forming sea creatures in northern California. The findings suggest the ongoing buildup of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere could set up a destructive feedback loop with the deep ocean. And that could disrupt natural cycles for centuries to come. 

The study – from the University of California Davis – found that a common type of plankton had trouble growing and repairing their shells in acidic water. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

About 200 people gathered in Ashland on Saturday night to celebrate the life of a hometown boy who died trying to protect a pair of women from anti-Muslim abuse in Portland.

Asha Deliverance Facebook page

One of the victims of the hate attack on a train in Portland Friday afternoon was raised in Ashland.

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, was one of three bystanders who attempted to intervene when a man began shouting slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim. The attacker stabbed the three men, killing two and injuring one, before leaving the train.

The sudden arrival of summery weather in Oregon – combined with above-average snowpack in the mountains – mean rivers in the region are running higher – and colder – than normal. Officials say that – with Memorial Day coming up -- playing on the rivers could be more dangerous.

Laurie Avocado/Wikimedia Commons

The list of states with some form of legal marijuana continues to grow. But because pot remains illegal under federal law, most banks won’t offer services to cannabis businesses.

Now, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is sponsoring a bill that would remove key barriers that keep most marijuana businesses operating only in cash. 


After a long string of defeated property tax levies, voters in Josephine County finally found two they could support. A public safety levy and a levy to establish a public library district both passed by nearly identical 52 to 48 percent margins.