It’s springtime in the Northwest: birds sing, emerald shoots are pushing up from the earth and the irrigation sprinklers tick, tick like clocks — same as always. 

But so much else has changed. 

Still, spring work starts up, ready or not. And Northwest growers are scrambling to figure out how to work around the global coronavirus pandemic and still bring in the coming harvest. 

Farmers wonder: Can they get it done safely?

First Up: Asparagus

Andrew Nixon/CapRadio

Greg Baughman expects to sell 750 four-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer by Sunday. “Last week we sold out,” Baughman said. “This week we expect to sell out again.” 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Updated 1:12 p.m.

On Friday, California had a backlog of more than 59,000 unprocessed COVID-19 tests. Within 24 hours, that number fell dramatically, to approximately 13,000.

“The testing space has been a challenging one for us and I own that,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Saturday. “It’s a new day, and we are turning the page on our old approach.”

As the United States tumbles into a coronavirus recession, the Federal Reserve is using its nearly unlimited power to generate cash to cushion the fall.

"The Fed is doing everything they can to keep financial markets functioning and credit available to households and firms," former Fed Chair Janet Yellen said during a forum organized by the Brookings Institution.

Jackson County Continuum of Care

A winter shelter in Ashland closed early because of the coronavirus pandemic. Like other homeless shelters across the country, organizers were concerned that having people sleeping in close quarters wasn’t safe. JPR reporter April Ehrlich has been speaking to unsheltered people and the nonprofits that help them. She discusses what she found with JPR’s Liam Moriarty.

The sun keeps poking out from behind the clouds, taunting us with all the places we'd rather be than stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. So the "Oregon Field Guide" team is raiding our archives to take you on a series of road trips.

Arlene Schnitzer died Saturday after a long illness. She was 91 years old. Schnitzer transformed the Northwest art scene in the 1960s and 1970s and championed the work of local artists. Schnitzer and her husband, the late Harold Schnitzer, were among Oregon’s most generous philanthropists. They donated more than $80 million to various causes. 

“If there’s a lesson from her life, what she said to me this morning is she said, ‘Don’t stop caring about the community,’” Arlene’s son, Jordan Schnitzer, said. 

The United States remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with confirmed cases now at more than 300,000 and deaths climbing toward 9,000.

In Europe, another global hot spot, Spain has surpassed Italy for the leading number of cases, with Germany and France not too far behind. Worldwide, there are over 1.2 million cases and nearly 66,000 deaths.

UPDATE (April 4, 7:37 p.m. PT) — Oregon state and local health officials reported 100 new known cases of the novel coronavirus Saturday, bringing the state’s total to 999.

Two of those new cases are at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon, according to the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The department had previously said that new cases at the home had subsided.


Easter is next Sunday, April 12. But the country isn't close to being "opened up" by then, as President Trump said he'd like to see during a March 24 news conference, a suggestion that was panned by experts.

It was March 20 and Lynn Schore had a sore throat. Five hours later, she was struggling to breathe. 

The next two days were a blur: Schore fell asleep on her bed, hallucinating butterflies. She tried to reach for a thermometer and woke up hours later, realizing she’d passed out before she could read her temperature. She tried again — 104 degrees. 

Since the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic, Americans have been told by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to wear masks unless they are sick, caring for a sick person who is unable to wear one or working in health care.

For Icelandic singer/songwritier Ásgeir, the fame and popularity that followed his debut album Dýrð í dauðaþögn was a shock, though it was tempered somewhat by the general laid-back attitude of Icelanders in general.  

Photo courtesy of Laura Brubaker

Yoga time, craft time, outside time, alone time. 

For the past two weeks, Laura Brubaker has divided the days into neat, predictable sections to help her two autistic children maintain a sense of routine while they’re home from school. 

Families across California have been looking for creative ways to educate at home while schools and day cares are shuttered. But for parents of children with intellectual disabilities, it’s a steeper challenge with higher stakes.

Beth LaBerge/KQED

As small businesses cut operations and lay off workers amid a global pandemic, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced relief packages to help those businesses stay afloat and continue paying employees. 

Image of exterior of veterans home
California Department of Veterans Affairs

UPDATE: MONDAY, APRIL 6, 9:30 a.m. ... 

Officials with the California Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Sunday night that another staff member at their Redding veterans home has tested positive for the coronavirus. They said they’re also waiting for test results from an additional staff member who showed COVID-19 symptoms.

Updated at 10:09 a.m. ET

For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. suffered a net loss of jobs as the coronavirus began to take hold in the country. But a monthly snapshot from the Labor Department shows only the first pinpricks of what will soon be a gaping wound.

Trump Administration Finalizes Rangeland Wildfire Plan

Apr 2, 2020

The Trump administration has finalized a plan to construct up to 11,000 miles of fuel breaks to control wildfire on federal land in six Western states, including Oregon. 

Gov. Kate Brown suggested Thursday she will not convene Oregon legislators for a special session in the near future, despite weeks of preparation by lawmakers to work up an emergency relief package for the state.

Citing more than $1 billion in expected emergency funding from the federal government, Brown said she’ll hold off on calling a session until the specifics of that aid are better understood.

UPDATE (4:30 p.m. PT) – Tens of thousands of Oregonians and Washingtonians filed new unemployment claims last week as the economic collapse wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic accelerated.

In Oregon, a record 92,700 people filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits during the week of March 22, according to the state employment department. That dwarfs the nearly 5,000 initial claims filed just two weeks before.