Author

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. She previously worked in Iceland and Qatar and was a Fulbright scholar in Spain where she earned a master's degree in digital media. She's been a kayaking guide in Alaska, farmed on four continents and worked the night shift at several bakeries to support her reporting along the way.

Tests show Oregon students’ proficiency in core subjects declined during Covid

By: - September 22, 2022

The latest results from statewide assessment tests in math, English and science show students across Oregon lost ground during the pandemic. Though participation was lower than in years past, an average of 85% of students participated this year in the assessment tests, called Smarter Balanced tests, which are required by state and federal law unless […]

Director of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality abruptly resigns

By: - September 21, 2022

The head of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality resigned from the job this week, three months before his scheduled retirement.  Richard Whitman, who has led the agency since 2016, had announced in June that he would retire at the end of the year. Department spokesperson Harry Esteve said Whitman is resigning early due to personal […]

Fewer community groups got state funding for summer learning due to insurance requirement

By: - September 20, 2022

Last year, youth in Maupin had the opportunity to join a summer program that brought them on field trips across the state. It was run by South Wasco Youth Programs, a nonprofit serving about 110 students in north central Oregon.  “We’re in a rural, impoverished area, so to do that was pretty amazing,”Director Amber Anderson […]

Lawsuit by 13 counties against state over logging practices ends at Oregon Supreme Court

By: - September 20, 2022

The Oregon Supreme Court has ended a six-year legal battle between the state and 13 western Oregon counties over logging practices by declining to hear the case. In 2016, the counties, along with 150 tax districts within them, brought a class action lawsuit against the state and the Oregon Department of Forestry for failing to […]

A teacher cleans a classroom to prepare it for students

How has more than $1.5 billion in federal Covid relief money changed Oregon schools?

By: - September 19, 2022

Jared Cordon, the school superintendent in Roseburg in southern Oregon, cannot afford to pay for new heating, cooling and ventilation systems in the bulk of his district’s 12 schools, some of which are nearly 100 years old.  Despite receiving $19 million in federal Covid relief funding since 2020, Cordon learned early on that the money […]

Residents in Morrow County demand urgent aid from state for contaminated water

By: - September 16, 2022

More than 100 Boardman residents attended a meeting Thursday evening to demand the state guarantee access to safe drinking water in Morrow County.  The meeting, hosted by the nonprofit environmental and social justice advocacy group Oregon Rural Action, was the largest public meeting regarding drinking water issues since the county declared an emergency over groundwater […]

Eastern Oregon likely to get fraction of money requested from state for drinking water emergency

By: - September 16, 2022

Eastern Oregon is likely to get one-quarter of the money it wanted from the state this year in emergency aid for clean drinking water.  In an Aug. 11 email, Morrow County Commissioner Jim Doherty asked state Rep. Greg Smith, a Republican who represents the area, to submit a letter requesting for $4 million to the […]

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown asks president to declare federal wildfire emergency for the state

By: - September 14, 2022

Gov. Kate Brown has asked President Joe Biden to declare a federal emergency in Oregon due to extreme wildfire risks. It would make Oregon the first state to receive a presidential emergency declaration for wildfires. Brown sent a letter requesting the federal aid to Biden on Sept. 9, as state officials warned of increased fire […]

Oregon, Washington hope to make Northwest the U.S. leader of ‘green hydrogen’ energy

By: - September 13, 2022

Oregon and Washington have teamed up to go after billions of federal dollars to make the Northwest a hub of green hydrogen energy. Hydrogen is an element found naturally in the environment. It can fuel large vessels and manufacturing processes that cannot be easily electrified. The region currently produces some hydrogen, but almost none of […]

Tax credits on electric cars, heat pumps will help low-income Oregonians, politicians say

By: - September 7, 2022

Sammie Lewis of North Portland no longer has a home energy bill. Her house has been newly insulated and retrofitted with solar panels and a heating and cooling pump. She updated her home with the help of a local nonprofit that leverages state and federal grants and tax rebates to help low-income Oregonians make their […]

State Education Department recommends big changes to graduation requirements

By: - September 2, 2022

The Oregon Department of Education recommends the state make big changes to high school graduation requirements, including ending a decades-old requirement to show proficiency in reading, writing and other skills on top of credit-bearing coursework in those subjects. The department also recommends ending a requirement that students pass Algebra I, that the state offer one […]

Oregon joins western states in opposing more natural gas from Canadian pipeline

By: - August 31, 2022

Oregon has joined California and Washington in opposing a project that would increase the amount of natural gas flowing from Canada to the West Coast. A 1,400-mile pipeline owned by Calgary-based TC Energy sends billions of cubic feet of natural gas to utilities supplying consumers in the Northwest and California each day. The pipeline runs […]