Author

Alex Baumhardt

Alex Baumhardt

Alex Baumhardt is a reporter for Oregon Capital Chronicle. She has been a national radio producer focusing on education for American Public Media since 2017. She has reported from the Arctic to the Antarctic for national and international media, and from Minnesota and Oregon for The Washington Post.

State Sen. Jeff Golden, D-Ashland, speaks during a press conference about the Senate Republican walkout on June 6, 2023. (Julia Shumway/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Ashland Sen. Jeff Golden joins race for Democratic nomination for Oregon state treasurer

By: - February 22, 2024

UPDATED at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 with a comment from Sen. Elizabeth Steiner. The Democratic primary for Oregon state treasurer is growing increasingly competitive with the addition Thursday of a third candidate, state Sen. Jeff Golden of Ashland. Golden confirmed in a text message to the Capital Chronicle his intent to run against […]

The Hat Rock Fire in Umatilla County started the afternoon of June 13. It is among the first fires of the 2023 wildfire season.

Oregon ‘stumbling into future’ on wildfire funding, lawmaker says

By: - February 22, 2024

Democratic lawmakers approached the February short session intending to create sustainable wildfire funding but their options have narrowed as the state nears another wildfire season with inadequate funding.  The Oregon Department of Forestry and State Fire Marshal’s Office currently have $87 million for the next two seasons, compared with the $220 million for wildfire the […]

A pod of southern resident killer whales. (Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries)

Oregon officials add southern resident orcas to state’s endangered species list

By: - February 16, 2024

Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission has decided to add a group of whales that forage along the Oregon Coast to the state’s endangered species list. The commissioners voted unanimously to list southern resident orcas as endangered during its Friday meeting in Hillsboro. The vote followed a presentation by a fish and wildlife official calling for […]

An Oregon wind farm on the Oregon-Washington border.

More than two dozen Oregon lobbyists work for both sides on climate change, report finds

By: - February 16, 2024

More than two dozen Oregon lobbyists are advocating policies on behalf of industries that contribute to climate change while also representing those that fight and respond to climate challenges, according to a report from a lobbying watchdog group. Researchers at the group, Pennsylvania-based F Minus, launched last summer, compiled a database that shows that more […]

canola field

Willamette Valley farmers spar over risks of expanding genetically modified canola crop

By: - February 15, 2024

Farmers in the Willamette Valley have been at odds for more than three decades over the risks of planting more canola, and whether the potential for pesticide drift and cross-pollination with cabbage, broccoli and other members of canola’s brassica family could threaten the purity and economic value of the valley’s prized seed crops.  The debate […]

Driftwood Beach near Waldport. Some trails in the area have been closed to the public as local leaders wait for the state to revamp a recreational liability law meant to spare local governments from lawsuits when someone is hurt using paths maintained by cities and counties. (Michelle Klampe, Oregon State University)

Oregon lawmakers consider redefining ‘recreation’ to keep public trails open

By: - February 12, 2024

The public’s ability to access some trails and pathways maintained by local governments could come down to how “recreation” is redefined in a state law meant to protect local governments from lawsuits.  On Monday, members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary considered Senate Bill SB 1576-3, which would expand the definition of recreation covered […]

Hundreds of educators, parents and students joined a rally Nov. 1. 2023 at Roosevelt High School in northeast Portland to support striking teachers who want better pay, smaller class sizes and more planning time among other demands. (Alex Baumhardt/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Survey: Oregonians support striking teachers, think schools should have kids reading by third grade

By: - February 12, 2024

Oregonians largely support striking teachers more than their unions, want schools to ensure students can read by third grade and don’t think the Legislature should hold greater authority to intervene in district budgets or teacher bargaining, according to a new survey. The nonprofit and nonpartisan Oregon Values and Beliefs Center collected survey responses from more […]

The University of Oregon is increasing tuition for incoming freshman in the fall of 2022.

Oregon students, faculty, unions say university governing system broken, call for investigation

By: - February 8, 2024

Former students and faculty from nearly every one of Oregon’s seven public universities told lawmakers this week the state’s higher education system is broken, with students unable to afford housing, relying on Medicaid and food assistance and strapped with mounting debts. They blamed the failures, in part, on two laws passed more than a decade […]

Emissions spew from a large stack at the coal fired Brandon Shores Power Plant, on March 9, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Plan to make state retirement fund carbon neutral relies on industry, Wall Street doing the same

By: - February 6, 2024

Oregon’s nearly $94 billion public employee pension system could one day be carbon neutral, according to a new plan from the state Treasury. But getting there depends largely on whether corporation and private investment funds stick to their own commitments to do the same. State Treasurer Tobias Read unveiled a 97-page plan on Tuesday to […]

Clear-cutting on lands owned by Roseburg Forest Products near Veneta, Ore., November 11, 2023. (Rian Dundon/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Democrats split on charging public or timber industry for more of Oregon’s wildfire protection

By: - February 6, 2024

Democratic lawmakers are split over whether a greater share of the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to protect the state from wildfires should come from all Oregon taxpayers or from the private property and business owners whose valuable assets receive state protection.  During the five weeks of the Legislative session, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, D-Portland […]

Future teachers take an early literacy course at Eastern Oregon University Feb. 20, 2023. (Alex Baumhardt/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Public invited to comment on revamped literacy standards for Oregon teacher colleges

By: - January 31, 2024

Teacher colleges in Oregon may soon need to meet six revamped literacy standards to have their education degree programs approved.  A literacy council formed eight-months ago by Gov. Tina Kotek released its first round of recommended standards for improving how Oregon colleges prepare future teachers to teach reading and writing. The revamped standards include an […]

Lawmakers propose temporary summer school funding while pursuing long-term fix

By: - January 30, 2024

The summer following Oregon kids’ return to school from pandemic closures in 2021, the state allocated record funding for summer learning.  It was vital to getting tens of thousands of students caught up, lawmakers said at the time, and “the beginning of really talking about a full year of school,” then-Senate President Peter Courtney told […]