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.

A view from the Elliott State Research Forest

Oregon’s oldest state forest will no longer be logged to provide funding for schools

By: - December 14, 2022

A state forest with some of the last and largest swathes of old-growth trees in the Oregon Coast Range will no longer be logged to help pay for the public schools.  A vote from the State Land Board made the decision official Wednesday, following Legislative approval in February. The Elliott State Forest, now the Elliott […]

Oregon joins coalition of Western states urging USDA to do more for region’s farmers and ranchers

By: - December 13, 2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture should be doing more to help Western farmers and ranchers, 14 U.S. senators said in a recent letter to the agency.  On Dec. 7, U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon joined 12 other U.S. Democratic senators from Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Washington and two […]

A view from King's Mountain in the Tillamook State Forest.

Oregon groups urge Kotek to increase environmental funding, staff

By: - December 9, 2022

Environmental and industry groups are urging Gov.-elect Tina Kotek to increase staff and budgets to tackle water, wildfire, agriculture, climate and energy concerns in the years ahead. About 240 people joined a video call hosted Friday by Kotek’s transition team intended to help the incoming governor prepare her first natural resources budget to present to […]

Neighborhood wildfire prevention could get help from state, insurers under proposed legislation

By: - December 8, 2022

Neighbors hoping to join together to prevent wildfires could get a boost from the state and rewards from insurers under legislation being proposed by state Sen. Jeff Golden, D-Ashland. Golden discussed his plans for the tentatively named Neighborhood Wildfire Protection Act at a meeting of the Senate Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery Committee Thursday. The […]

The Port of Morrow in Boardman, Oregon.

Port of Morrow agrees to new state regulations limiting nitrogen pollution

By: - December 5, 2022

The Port of Morrow has agreed to new conditions for disposing of its nitrogen-loaded wastewater, accepting changes mandated by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality following $2.1 million in total fines issued this year.  The agency fined the port in January and June for allowing more than 260 excess tons of nitrogen to be spread […]

A map of Obsidian Renewables proposed hydrogen hub

Oregon company pitches plan to create Northwest hydrogen hub outside state agencies

By: - December 5, 2022

A Lake Oswego-based solar energy company has spurned a Northwest government partnership by launching its own bid to win hundreds of millions in federal dollars to create a green hydrogen production network across Oregon and Washington.  In November, Obsidian Renewables applied to the U.S. Department of Energy to become a green hydrogen hub for the […]

Next renewable diesel plant on the Columbia River

Construction of largest alternative diesel refinery in U.S. faces permitting challenges

By: - December 2, 2022

An Oregon company hoping to build the largest alternative, or renewable, diesel refinery in the country along the Columbia River faces several new permitting challenges that could challenge the project. In September, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denied Portland-based Next Renewable Fuels, Inc. a key water permit, and on Oct. 27, the Land Use […]

Ethan Kemper home schools online in Banks, Oregon.

Oregon’s home-schooling surge during pandemic starting to cool

By: - December 1, 2022

Oregon’s pandemic home-schooling boom is beginning to cool off, new state data shows.  The number of students taught at home this year is down about 7.5% from last year in 14 of the state’s 19 Education Service Districts that responded to Capital Chronicle data requests and that track total home-school enrollment at the beginning of […]

Climate change likely playing role in 40% drop in Pacific gray whale population

By: - November 21, 2022

Scientists are investigating the causes of a nearly 40% decline in the Pacific gray whales that pass along the Oregon Coast each winter and spring on their way from Baja, Mexico to the Arctic. One primary suspect is food scarcity with Arctic feeding grounds impacted by warming temperatures and the loss of sea ice from […]

Federal energy agency approves plan to remove Klamath River’s dams

By: - November 17, 2022

A nearly two-decade campaign to remove hydroelectric dams and restore threatened and endangered fish on the lower Klamath River has cleared its final hurdle. On Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the plan to remove four dams on the lower Klamath River, saying it was in the public interest. The commission is made up […]

OSU professor awarded $3 million federal grant to produce a sustainable battery without scarce metals

By: - November 15, 2022

The metals found in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles could become scarce in the decades ahead as demand increases. So Xiulei “David” Ji, an Oregon State University chemistry professor, and a team of OSU scientists set out to find alternatives.  After a decade investigating and experimenting with battery chemistry and storage, including working […]

Oregon environmental commission rules out air pollution regulations for large dairies

By: - November 10, 2022

Dairies with hundreds of cows won’t face regulations for air pollution for now, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission decided. The five governor-appointed commissioners made the ruling Wednesday in response to an August petition filed by two-dozen environmental, animal welfare and social justice groups that asked the state to regulate harmful emissions from dairies with 700 […]