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.

Oregon needs more money to fight big wildfires. Who should pay for it?

By: - January 3, 2024

The Oregon Department of Forestry needs more and consistent funding to fight wildfires. That much was clear following the 2020 Labor Day fires that burned nearly 850,000 acres of forests and became the state’s most expensive disaster in history.  But lawmakers are split on how to pay for it. Two Democratic senators recently unveiled competing […]

A natural gas pipeline

Court rules Oregon’s landmark climate change regulations invalid in case brought by gas utilities

By: - December 20, 2023

Oregon’s second highest court ruled in favor of natural gas utilities seeking to invalidate the state’s landmark climate program.  The state’s Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the three-year-old Climate Protection Program is invalid on a technicality. Judges James Egan and Jacqueline Kamins said that the state’s Environmental Quality Commission did not fully comply with […]

More protections coming for old-growth forests under federal plans

By: - December 19, 2023

America’s oldest trees, most of which are in the West, will get added protection from wildfire and climate change under updated forest plans from the U.S. Forest Service.  In announcements over the past week, officials from the Forest Service said they would begin the process of amending forest management plans affecting all 128 of the […]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials at the Ouray National Fish Hatchery in Utah.

Analysis of Northwest, other salmon hatcheries finds nearly all hurt wild salmon populations

By: - December 18, 2023

For much of the last century, fish hatcheries have been built in the Northwest, across the U.S. and around the world to boost fish populations where wild numbers have gone down.  But an analysis of more than 200 studies on hatcheries programs meant to boost salmonid numbers across the globe – including salmon, trout and […]

A gas ring on a domestic stove powered by natural gas.

Lawmakers, advocates ask state to investigate NW Natural for misleading claims about natural gas

By: - December 12, 2023

More than two dozen environmental and social justice groups, as well as several current and former state representatives, are asking Oregon’s attorney general to investigate the state’s largest natural gas utility for spreading misinformation about the health and climate risks of gas-burning stoves.  In a letter sent Monday to Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, the coalition […]

Wyden to block national security director nominee until agency discloses surveillance of Americans

By: - December 12, 2023

Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden will block the nomination of a new director for the National Security Agency until the agency publicly discloses whether it is purchasing, storing and using electronic data on everyday Americans. Wyden has asked the agency to disclose this information since 2021, but he’s intensifying pressure in the lead up to […]

Clear-cuts and logged swaths of the Tillamook State Forest from above on Oct. 13, 2023. (Jordan Gale/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Habitat plan for western state forests could cost counties $18 million a year in timber revenue

By: - December 8, 2023

To avoid major lawsuits under the federal Endangered Species Act, state and federal agencies have crafted a plan to reduce the amount of timber logged from Oregon’s western state-owned forests annually by up to 40%. Officials in some counties that have relied on those timber revenues for the past 80 years are angry and worried […]

With federal money running out, states are scrambling to ensure families have child care.

Early child care shortages in Oregon costing parents jobs, survey finds

By: - December 5, 2023

Public funding to boost early child care options in Oregon has grown by millions during the past few years, but options are still limited for many parents who are forced to choose – and lose – jobs, according to a survey from Portland State University. More than 40% of parents said they or their partner […]

Solar panels atop storage units in rural Virginia were funded by a Rural Energy for America program grant. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

USDA grows solar power in rural Oregon despite limited transmission, assistance

By: - December 1, 2023

More farmland across the U.S. will need to host power-generating solar panels for the country to decarbonize the electric grid and meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture. But that’s not the sell that officials at the USDA’s Rural Development office use to entice Oregon farmers […]

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

Feds consider removing Snake River dams in leaked agreement with plaintiffs in lawsuit

By: - November 30, 2023

The Biden administration and federal agencies are prepared to remove four lower Snake River dams to save imperiled salmon species, according to a leaked proposal among parties in a federal lawsuit and the administration’s environmental council. Republican representatives in the Northwest, as well as some electric utilities, are not pleased about the proposed agreement.  The […]

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)

Oregon governor signals state funding to schools must improve following Portland teachers’ strike

By: - November 28, 2023

The conditions that led to Portland’s first teachers’ strike reflect historic and statewide issues that need to be addressed by state leaders, according to Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek.  “We’re going to step up and have a different conversation in the coming year,” she said at a news conference Tuesday.  To start, Kotek laid out four […]

Schools spent little of $19 million from state on substitute teacher training

By: - November 27, 2023

When Debbie Fery started hearing this year from substitute teachers who had not been paid for time spent taking mandatory trainings, it felt personal.  Fery, treasurer and chair of government affairs for the Oregon Substitute Teachers Association, and a substitute teacher herself, took her own fight to get paid for a required safety training to […]