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’s work to minimize wildfires gets a boost from federal legislation

By: - November 17, 2021

Oregon will likely tackle much quicker a long list of projects already planned to help cope with wildfires that have become increasingly catastrophic in the state.  From making homes in forested areas safer to clearing forest debris left untended for sometimes decades, the federal money comes on top of an already-robust plan approved by state […]

Community college enrollments in Oregon begin to stabilize, but decade of decline worrying

By: - November 16, 2021

Oregon’s 17 community colleges have managed to slow steep pandemic drops in enrollment according to figures released Friday but their future is uncertain.  Last year, the total student headcount was down 23% from the year before. This year, it slowed to a drop of less than 1%.  Still, community colleges enroll 60,000 fewer students today […]

School staffing issues in Oregon called ‘real, emergency situation’

By: - November 15, 2021

At a Senate Education Committee meeting on Monday, superintendents and representatives from school boards and teachers associations detailed dire staffing situations across the state that are harming students and even potentially violating federal law. Among the most severe shortages: special education instructors.  Staffing shortages have forced at least one education service district to curtail special […]

Timber advocates ghostwrite commissioners’ complaint about River Democracy Act

By: - November 12, 2021

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden in August got a letter critical of his plan to preserve more Oregon streams from 14 county commissioners in eastern Oregon. They represented the letter as their view – but gave no indication the piece had been produced by the timber advocacy group American Forest Resource Council.  Oregon Wild, an environmental […]

New Southern Oregon University president announced

By: - November 10, 2021

Oregon’s fourth largest university and the state’s southern flagship has announced its next president.  Richard Bailey, Jr., 51, will oversee Southern Oregon University in Ashland starting in January. He’ll be the university’s 14th president since its founding in 1872. He takes over from Linda Schott, who announced in April that she would retire by the […]

Audit: Education department has improved cyber security, but some gaps persist

By: - November 10, 2021

The Oregon Department of Education’s IT office largely passed the state’s audit of its cybersecurity protocols in a report released Wednesday, but several persistent gaps remain since they were reviewed in 2019.  The Education Department’s Office of Finance and Information Technology is tasked with supporting agency technology and creating web applications that help with programs […]

Three steelhead trout travel in the Columbia Basin

Oregon environmentalists say feds neglecting to enforce action to protect fish

By: - November 10, 2021

The first time Nina Bell heard that the Columbia River was getting warmer was in the early 90s. Scientists advising the state Department of Environmental Quality warned that the river in some places was becoming a danger to migrating fish, she said. “They called it out, said the temperatures were jeopardizing the fish – jeopardizing […]

State renews septic tank fix funding – but thousands will continue leaking without repair

By: - November 9, 2021

The invisible price of a failing home septic system is a foul smell.  The very visible mark is ground softening atop the underground sewage tank resulting in leaks into waterways and repair and replacement costs that can range from $25,000 to $65,000. That’s a cost typically borne by the home or business owner. A loan […]

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

Oregon attorney general leads call to end Trump exemptions for religious schools

By: - November 4, 2021

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and 18 other state attorney generals are seeking to eliminate Trump-era measures that relaxed anti-discrimination rules for religious schools. Three Oregon students are among the plaintiffs and one private university in Salem is intervening to defend the Trump rules.  The attorney generals filed a brief in the U.S. District Court […]

Some of Oregon’s most powerful state boards getting new members

By: , and - November 4, 2021

A McMinnville hay farmer, a Wilsonville dentist and the former deputy director of the state Agriculture Department are among dozens of unelected Oregonians set to wield power over state lands, government ethics and public pensions.  Gov. Kate Brown’s nominees to multiple state boards and commissions are up for confirmation in the state Senate later this […]

Oregon’s private forests would do better shielding streams, wildlife under historic deal

By: - November 2, 2021

Beavers and salmon in Oregon could be the big winners over a new agreement expected to profoundly change how millions of acres of private forestland in Oregon are managed. Conservationists and representatives from the timber industry negotiated until the wee hours of Saturday morning to agree on changes to the state Forest Practices Act. The […]

Oregonians talk climate wins, losses as Congress expected to vote on Build Back Better package

By: - November 1, 2021

Oregon politicians, activists and businesses have mixed feelings of hope and deflation ahead of Tuesday’s expected historic vote on federal climate spending.  Congress is scheduled to consider the long awaited Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  The former, which includes $555 billion dedicated to slowing the growing threat of […]