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.

No suspension of state gas taxes for now

By: - March 15, 2022

Oregon won’t join other states in considering a pause to state gas taxes, for now, according to Charles Boyle, deputy communications officer for Gov. Kate Brown. Legislators in more than a dozen states are proposing temporary gas tax holidays or rebates to counter the rising cost of fuel for individual consumers and businesses. A measure […]

Oregon highway work

State agencies in Oregon begin to grapple with hidden costs of high fuel prices

By: - March 14, 2022

Gasoline is both the hand that gives and the hand that takes at the Oregon Department of Transportation. For its funding, the agency relies on taxes collected from statewide gas sales. To power road crews, mowers and snow plows, it has to buy about three million gallons of gas and diesel a year.  When prices […]

After two-year review, Oregon’s climate change strategy must be more aggressive, committee says

By: - March 10, 2022

More than 50 organizations on a committee focused on Oregon’s climate change policies released a report Thursday calling on state leaders to take more aggressive action.  The Oregon Climate Action Plan Steering Committee is made up of environmental, labor, public health and youth and community groups such as Renew Oregon, the Oregon Public Health Association […]

DeFazio’s USPS Fairness Act passes, saving the Postal Service $5 billion a year

By: - March 10, 2022

Since 2006, the U.S. Postal Service has been required to put aside $5 billion a year to pay for the health benefits of all employees expected to retire for the next 75 years.  On Tuesday, the requirement ended with the passage of the USPS Fairness Act, which was approved by the U.S. Senate and House […]

Electric vehicle charging

Carbon credits bought by gas companies will pay for new electric vehicles, charging stations

By: - March 8, 2022

A rural northeast Oregon gas station, several community colleges and the Portland NAACP are among 10 grantees to receive money for electric vehicle charging stations from Pacific Power.  The electric utility company awarded $800,000 in grants to boost electric vehicle use and infrastructure in the state, using earnings from its sale of carbon credits.  Through […]

State Energy Department to offer $12 million in grants for community solar, wind projects

By: - March 8, 2022

Ideas for community projects to boost renewable energy access could soon have up to $1 million each from the Oregon Department of Energy. The agency announced they’ll release $12 million in grants for projects such as adding more electric vehicle charging stations in rural parts of the state and adding solar panels to public buildings. […]

Largest solar energy facility in Oregon gets final approval after legal battles

By: - March 8, 2022

The largest solar energy facility planned in Oregon got its final greenlight for construction last week. The approval follows years of legal battles mounted by area farmers and ranchers.  The Obsidian Solar Center is a project of Lake Oswego-based Obsidian Renewables LLC.  It will be the largest solar facility in the Pacific Northwest and one […]

Help for homeless students drew bipartisan support, but dies in Legislature

By: - March 7, 2022

The goal was to help school districts with high counts of homeless students. The legislation drew bipartisan support, responding to emergencies and issues exacerbated by the pandemic. But the plan died in the closing days of the 2022 session, not because of controversy or political discord. It died of neglect, according to interviews. Those who […]

Oregon Legislature ends 2022 session with big spending, policy changes, little political rancor

By: , and - March 4, 2022

With a final flurry of votes and speeches, Oregon legislators ended their 2022 session just before noon on Friday. Depending on whether Gov. Kate Brown signs all of the bills sent her way — she told reporters Friday she’s reviewing everything carefully but isn’t planning any vetoes — the 32 days of legislative work will […]

Legislature passes package to help boost the state’s teacher workforce amid shortages

By: - March 3, 2022

A package geared at growing the teacher workforce amid pandemic shortages passed the Senate Thursday and goes to Gov. Kate Brown for final approval. The only Senate votes against the plan came from Republican Sens. Dennis Linthicum of Klamath Falls and Chuck Thomsen of Hood River. House Bill 4030 provides nearly $100 million for districts […]

Education Department offers new guidance as schools ready to drop mask mandates

By: - March 2, 2022

The Oregon Department of Education released updated guidance for school districts on Wednesday that ends some testing protocols and contact tracing.  The changes to the Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework – a roadmap for keeping schools open and students safe during the pandemic – comes as schools prepare for the end of state mask […]

Private Forest Accord passes Senate, clearing way for House vote

By: - March 2, 2022

The Private Forest Accord passed the Oregon Senate on Wednesday, making its way to a final House vote before the end of the February short session. “I think we’re making history this morning,” Sen. Jeff Golden, D-Ashland, said before the vote. The bill would change the way more than 10 million acres of private forests […]