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.

high school graduation

Oregon scholarship for community college disproportionately going to wealthier students

By: - January 18, 2022

Money to help Oregon high school seniors pay for community college has been disproportionately flowing to students with the least financial need.  At a Senate Education Committee meeting Jan. 12, Juan Baez-Arevalo, the director of the Office of Student Access and Completion at the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, told lawmakers that the Oregon Promise grant […]

New recommendations limit contact tracing in schools to exposure in cafeterias, band, sports

By: - January 14, 2022

New guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education could end contract tracing when a student tests positive and was in close proximity to other students as long as all were wearing masks.  In an email sent Friday, the director of the state Education Department, Colt Gill, advised schools that they […]

Nurses and staff at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland

State will add nearly 2,000 new contract professionals to ease overburdened hospitals

By: and - January 13, 2022

Oregon officials are working to discharge hundreds of hospital patients who have been languishing and taking up critically-needed beds because the care they need in the community isn’t available. The move is expected to free up hospital beds for the still-growing influx of Oregonians so ill with coronavirus they need hospitalization. State officials said Thursday […]

Oregon students to get debt canceled and a payment over deceptive loan practices

By: - January 13, 2022

More than 5,000 Oregonians whose student loans were managed by Navient, one of the nation’s largest loan servicing companies, will receive part of a $1.85 billion settlement after it was found that the company participated in unfair and deceptive practices.  Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, announced the settlement today, along with 38 other states attorneys general.  […]

Legislators consider shielding school superintendents from rash school board actions

By: - January 13, 2022

Leaders from the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators and the Oregon School Boards Association are asking legislators to protect superintendents from some firings and require greater oversight and training for those serving on school boards. The proposals respond to several recent high-profile firings of school superintendents by their boards for enforcing mask and vaccine mandates, […]

DEQ fines Port of Morrow $1.3 million for ‘reckless’ pumping of nitrate-laced water on farms

By: and - January 11, 2022

State officials said Tuesday that the Port of Morrow in northeast Oregon for years has spread excessive amounts of nitrate-laced wastewater on area farmlands in a way that contaminates groundwater and was “reckless” in doing so. The state Department of Environmental Quality made that finding in announcing one of its largest pollution fines ever, levying […]

Empty classroom

State senator launches campaign for Oregon students denied class time due to language, disability

By: - January 11, 2022

State Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin, D-Corvallis, launched a statewide campaign Monday to collect accounts of Oregon students who have been denied equal time in their schools during the pandemic due to disability, a need for behavioral support or a need for English Language Learner services.  She hopes to use the material from the #AllMeansAll campaign […]

State, tribes get $87 million to lower energy costs for low-income households

By: - January 10, 2022

More financial help is available for low-income Oregonians and tribal members struggling with home heating and cooling bills. The Biden administration announced Friday that the state and the 13 tribes in Oregon would get $87.7 million to fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program through September.  In Oregon, the money goes to Community Action […]

Some Oregon school districts pause, ignore, or lack supplies for test-to-stay protocol

By: - January 10, 2022

Testing meant to detect unvaccinated students exposed to Covid-19 in schools is hitting supply and staffing challenges, according to school district leaders.  As Covid-19 cases declined in November, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Education Department announced a new protocol to keep more students in the classroom. Under the program, unvaccinated students who are […]

an emergency room at OHSU

Oregon reaches dire stage in pandemic as state issues guidelines for rationing care

By: and - January 7, 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic in Oregon has reached a dire stage, with the Oregon Health Authority advising hospitals how to ration care when they run out of beds, and officials warning the public that widespread infections will disrupt everyone’s life. During a news conference on Friday, Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Oregon’s state epidemiologist, said the highly infectious […]

Medical marijuana was approved by Oregon voters in 1998, and the possession and use of recreational marijuana has been legal in the state since mid-2015.

Oregon Department of Agriculture enforces new federal hemp rules for state growers

By: - January 7, 2022

Hemp growers in the state will now need to abide by several new federal regulations that will be overseen by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.  The changes come at a time of growing concerns over illegal marijuana operations in parts of southern Oregon. Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis plants, similar in appearance and smell […]

House Speaker Tina Kotek to step down, focus on bid for governor

By: - January 6, 2022

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, announced Thursday that she is stepping down from the Legislature and ending her tenure as longest-serving House speaker in history. After her last day on Jan. 21, she’ll focus on her campaign for governor. She leaves shortly before the February legislative session begins, a time during which she would […]