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A national public lands bill approved by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday includes wilderness protections for the Devil’s Staircase in southwestern Oregon, a 30,000-acre area that includes some of the largest old-growth forest stands in the Coast Range.

The measure also includes a number of wild and scenic river designations, including portions of the Molalla River east of Salem and about 120 miles of Rogue River tributaries in southern Oregon.

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The city of Ashland is one of the few Southern Oregon cities where ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft don't operate. City councilors almost changed that until the mayor stepped in with veto power.

When someone flies into the airport in Medford, they can take an Uber ride into Ashland, but not on their way back. That’s because Ashland’s rules are too strict for ride-sharing businesses to operate here.

Peggy Peattie for CALmatters

Russians hack Ukraine’s electricity network, turning lights off and on at will, rendering the country’s best tech hands helpless to intervene. North Korea takes over the controls of a South Korean nuclear power plant. Snipers with high-velocity rifles unleash a fusillade on a transmission station near San Jose, inflicting $15 million in damage.

A proposal that would sharply reduce Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions is one of the more hotly contested pieces of policy making its way through the Capitol, with environmental advocates calling for stricter rules and businesses predicting doom.

Now, that debate is set to hit the road.

US Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons

Researchers believe the Western Monarch butterfly's population floor is about 30,000.  Anything below that number could make it impossible for the species to make a recovery. 

And the Thanksgiving Count last fall showed fewer than 30,000 already.  Organizations focused on preserving the Monarch put out a call to action to urge people to help the butterflies return to their former numbers. 

Those include the Xerces Society, based in Portland. 

Josh Estey/AusAID

Criminal justice reform in the United States has lately focused on reducing the number of adults living behind bars, more than 2 million of them. 

At the same time, California's new governor is focused on reforming the juvenile justice system.  Gavin Newsom wants to move the juvenile justice agency out of the corrections department and into human services. 

This and other changes are welcome news for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency

Every week, tens of thousands of Americans complete intensive drug and alcohol rehab programs. The next months, however, are fraught with risk of relapse.

A treatment counselor or supporter can't monitor you around the clock. But now your always-on smartphone can watch you, coach you, alert your mom and even give rewards.

Supporters and opponents flocked to the first legislative hearing Monday on a bill that would require Oregon cities to allow denser housing in existing single-family neighborhoods.

House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, and other supporters of the measure said it would play an important role in easing Oregon’s shortage of housing – particularly for homes that aren’t out of the financial reach of most residents.

But officials from numerous cities said the bill could over-burden local services and cause a number of unintended impacts.

Chinookan-speaking Native American tribes have lived in the Columbia River Basin for more than 15,000 years and used the river as a highway.

American Indians have a continued presence on the river today and many look to the river to connect with their culture.

In mid-July, we joined the Portland All Nations Canoe Family, which paddled much of the Lower Columbia River as part of Canoe Journey, an annual Native American canoe gathering.

 

There are a lot of predators known to eat imperiled salmon, from sea lions to double-crested cormorants. For a long time, biologists thought gulls weren't a big part of the problem.

Now, they say that was a miscalculation.

"When some analysis was done, the impact of gulls — just in the section from McNary (Dam) to Bonneville (Dam) — nearly 20 percent of the fish taken were taken by gulls," said Blaine Parker, an avian predation coordinator with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission in Portland, Ore.

Updated at 1:39 a.m. ET Tuesday

Congressional negotiators have reached what they are calling "an agreement in principle" on a border-security spending agreement. Details of the agreement have not yet been released. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., says the full details will be released when the drafting of the bill is complete — a process that could be finished on Tuesday, at the earliest.

Winter storms in the Pacific Northwest over the past week have helped boost mountain snow levels. Ski areas across the Cascades report they have received between 9 and 20 inches of new snow since Friday.

Mt. Ashland Ski Area in southwest Oregon has seen 20 inches over the past week. General manager Hiram Towle says they filled the parking lot on Sunday, as 2,300 people traveled to the mountain to take advantage of the new snow.

It hasn’t just been the most recent storms that have attracted business, the season started strong as well.   

Construction goes on in a housing development in Folsom, Calif.
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Construction goes on in a housing development in Folsom, Calif.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

On the campaign trail, Gavin Newsom promised a "Marshall Plan" to confront California's affordable housing crisis. He said he'd help the state build its way out of the problem by cutting red tape and, notably, boosting money for the state's low-income tax credit by more than five-fold.

Here's the specific promise now-Gov. Newsom made about the tax credit:

On her third album Soft Power, L.A.-based Doe Paoro digs into her own frustration and anguish, and ultimately comes away with a newfound strength that’s profoundly inspiring.

Your Questions About Plastic Waste, Answered

Feb 8, 2019

In January, we published a special report called "A New Weapon In The War Against Plastic Waste." It profiled Froilan Grate, a Filipino environmental activist, and his efforts to fight the non-recyclable plastic waste that is clogging miles and miles of coastline in the Philippines.

Add Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to those calling on Virginia’s embattled governor to step down.

Asked in a meeting with reporters Thursday about news that a racist photo appeared on fellow Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page, Brown called the revelations “appalling.”

“He should resign,” she said. “We still have more work to do in this country. A lot more work.”

Jackson County

More adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities are thriving in their communities, living in foster homes rather than institutions. Jackson County’s need for homes where the developmentally disabled can live as independently as possible is growing. 


Investigative Journalism Non-Profit Starts Up In Oregon

Feb 7, 2019
Marisa_Sias/Pixabay

Long and deep investigations make names and awards for newsrooms.  But they don't make much money, so today's cash-poor journalism business tends to stay focused on shorter-term projects. 

Investigate West, a nonprofit doing investigative journalism work in the Northwest, just announced an Oregon-only spinoff called Underscore Media Collaboration.  It's so new it doesn't have its own website yet; it will be fully functional by summer. 

Lee van der Voo, longtime journalist, will be the managing editor and is our guest. 

Every summer on the National Mall, in the heart of the nation's capital, there's a free public event — a series of fireworks for all to see.

It's America's annual explosive celebration ... of safety.

It's the Consumer Product Safety Commission's day to blow up mannequins.

This year, it was observed on June 27.

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