Alex Baumhardt

Alex Baumhardt

Alex Baumhardt 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.

Private forestland gives way to the Tillamook State Forest in what looks like a patchwork of clear cuts from above. (Jordan Gale/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Conservationists ask governor to preserve more of Western state forests as landmark plan stalls

By: - November 15, 2023

As officials at state and federal agencies attempt to wrap up the landmark Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan, stakeholders are issuing new demands and asking for final tweaks that could delay the already overdue plan into 2025.  Conservationists say at stake are the fate of 17 threatened species and thousands of acres that […]


EPA moves on petition from West Coast tribes to investigate tire toxin linked to fish deaths

By: - November 14, 2023

For several decades, many coho salmon returning to waterways around Seattle to spawn have died mysteriously following heavy rains. In some urban streams, nearly all of the coho returning from the ocean died.  It wasn’t until 2021 that scientists figured out what was behind what they called “urban runoff mortality syndrome,” and it was not […]

Cherry harvest in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.

Hundreds of fruit packers in Washington and Oregon vote on union membership this week

By: - November 13, 2023

More than 350 apple, pear and cherry packers at three facilities in Washington and Oregon will decide this week whether to unionize. It’s among the first and largest unionization efforts among fruit packers in the region in years, according to Kristina Storm, director of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 3000, the union that employees […]

Oregon water officials say permitting must change to keep tens of thousands of wells from going dry

By: - November 13, 2023

The Oregon Water Resources Department must update its 68-year-old rules for permitting new wells or double down on regulating existing ones, department officials said.  If it doesn’t, the growing problem of the state’s depleted groundwater reserves “is going to get very expensive,” said department director Doug Woodcock. Many of Oregon’s 20 groundwater basins are being […]

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)

State lawmakers say they met Portland school demands for money as teachers strike

By: - November 6, 2023

State Democratic leaders say they’ve given educators, including Portland Public Schools, the money they asked for and that it will be up to the administration and unions to figure out how to use the money to meet demands of striking Portland teachers. At a news conference on the fourth day of the Portland Public Schools’ […]

The JC Boyle Dam will be removed in 2024, one of four dams being removed on the Klamath River to restore hundreds of miles of previously disconnected fish migration pathways and natural water flows. (Oregon State University)

Klamath Dam removal will lower risk of fish die-offs, scientists say

By: - November 3, 2023

Among the benefits to Klamath Basin fish following the largest dam removal project in the world will be fewer mass die-offs from parasites and bacteria, scientists say.  A team of researchers, led by Oregon State University fish parasitologist Sascha Hallett and Michael Belchik, a fisheries biologist with the Yurok Tribe in California, found that removing […]

The Port of Morrow in Boardman, Oregon.

Port of Morrow will pay $2 million to clean up dirty drinking water in state settlement

By: - November 1, 2023

The Port of Morrow will send nearly $2 million to the Oregon Health Authority to support clean drinking water efforts in northeast Oregon, and pay nearly half a million dollars to the state treasury following record penalties for years of groundwater pollution. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced the settlement with the state’s second […]

Gillian Grimm (left) and Heather Chaney (right) work at Sunnyside Elementary in Portland. The teacher and librarian joined hundreds of Portland Public School educators outside of Roosevelt High School, striking for better wages and smaller class sizes, among other demands. (Alex Baumhardt/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Oregon state officials urge Portland Public Schools, educators to reach a deal to end strike

By: and - November 1, 2023

With Portland Public Schools teachers striking for the first time in history, Oregon’s top elected officials urged the union and district leaders to bargain in good faith. The strike started on Wednesday, with about 3,500 teachers joining the work stoppage in the state’s largest school district, serving more than 40,000 students. Educators are on strike […]

The Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake River, in southeast Washington.

Court case on fate of Snake River dams, imperiled salmon postponed at least 45 more days

By: - October 31, 2023

Parties to a lawsuit challenging the federal government over its plans to continue operating dams on the Snake River at the expense of salmon runs asked a federal court in Oregon for more time to negotiate with one another. A coalition of conservation groups represented by the nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice, with support from […]

Officials tell public newly approved Northwest hydrogen hub will produce jobs, economic benefits

By: - October 31, 2023

Officials behind a new $1 billion hydrogen hub in the Northwest are now wading into discussions to shape the project. Leaders from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations and representatives from the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association, a consortium of private and public entities behind the region’s hydrogen hub, held their first […]

Southern Oregon dam operators now face water pollution fines on top of millions for fish kills

By: - October 27, 2023

The operators of a southern Oregon dam and the company that repaired it face additional fines for violating state permits and polluting the North Umpqua River near Roseburg. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality fined the Winchester Water Control District and the foundation repair company TerraFirma on Thursday more than $134,000 for violating a key […]

Student absenteeism high as Oregon districts attempt to normalize going to school every day

By: - October 26, 2023

Oregon students appear to be making some progress, but state and local education leaders are concerned about high absentee rates amid new data showing a sharp decline in regular school attendance among Oregon students since the pandemic. The number of Oregon kids regularly attending school last year dropped by nearly 20 percentage points from pre-pandemic […]