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.

Coal fired power plant

Lawmakers, environmentalists want state pension fund divested of fossil fuels

By: - February 16, 2023

Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups want the Oregon Treasury to divest billions of dollars in fossil fuel holdings from the public employee retirement fund. They say it’s a moral and financial imperative in light of climate change and projections showing declining demand for fossil fuels as renewable energy demand rises. Opponents say it would risk […]

Insider chosen to lead Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

By: - February 10, 2023

Leah Feldon’s stint filing in as director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality was made permanent Friday. The state’s Environmental Quality Commission voted unanimously to move her from interim director to the head of the agency over one other final candidate: emergency manager and former Oregon congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The five governor-appointed members […]

Bipartisan proposal would ensure students with disabilities get equal class time

By: - February 8, 2023

Some Oregon students with disabilities have been denied access to learning opportunities and class time that is guaranteed under state and federal law, parents say. Several spoke at a meeting of the state Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, and several more submitted written testimony in advance, outlining the lengths they had gone to get their […]

Legislative proposal would allow state to hold schools accountable for certain types of abuse

By: - February 2, 2023

School staff have held students down and left them in closets as punishment without any repercussions, state officials, parents and advocates said this week.  Students with disabilities, especially, have suffered unnecessary seclusion and restraints, they told lawmakers on Wednesday. Some had been pinned to the ground under gym mats by staff, unable to move. Yet […]

Natural gas meter

Natural gas utilities must act quickly to meet state-mandated emissions cuts, report finds

By: - February 2, 2023

UPDATED Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023 to include a response from NW Natural Oregon’s three natural gas providers need to move faster to cut greenhouse emissions or risk incurring significant fines and stalling the state’s efforts to combat climate change, a two-year investigation from the state’s Public Utilities Commission found.    The investigation began shortly after the […]

The Fender's blue butterfly has returned in large number

Willamette Valley butterfly once considered extinct is back in strong numbers

By: - January 31, 2023

A butterfly native to the Willamette Valley and that was once thought to be extinct has returned in strong numbers.  The Fender’s blue butterfly will move from the endangered to threatened species list under the federal Endangered Species Act on Feb. 13, federal officials said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement […]

Oregon has failed to address its water security crisis, government report finds

By: - January 26, 2023

Across Oregon, the future of water quality and quantity is in jeopardy, a state report said.  The 70-page advisory report released Thursday is a call to action for Gov. Tina Kotek, the state Legislature and state agencies, according to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. She said they all need to agree about water conservation priorities, […]

Three EV charging machines behind Valley Market in Sheridan, Oregon

SPECIAL REPORT: How startup took advantage of DEQ program with lax oversight to net $1.8 million

By: - January 23, 2023

Behind a convenience store on Highway 18 near Sheridan, three electric vehicle charging machines sit wrapped in plastic.  They have been there since April and have never charged a single car. But Merlin Thompson earlier this year convinced the state they had, collecting nearly $2 million in a scheme that tapped into Oregon’s push for […]

DEQ photos from TTS investigation

SPECIAL REPORT: DEQ steps up oversight after discovery of ‘reckless’ reporting by company

By: - January 23, 2023

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has enforced stricter oversight of a clean energy program after issuing a $2.7 million fine, a record in its history.  The Clean Fuels Program, which aims to encourage greener transportation, has largely run on autopilot since it was created in 2016, with intermittent checks by officials. But last year DEQ […]

Leah Feldon and Jamie McLeod-Skinner

Finalists announced for director of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

By: - January 19, 2023

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality will be run by either interim Director Leah Feldon or former Democratic congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner.  The two finalists for director of the department were announced Thursday at a meeting of the state Environmental Quality Commission. The final decision will be made by the five, governor-appointed members on the commission […]

inside the state capitol

2023 Oregon legislative preview: What you need to know

By: , and - January 17, 2023

The Oregon Legislature begins its 2023 work in earnest on Tuesday, with just more than five months to pass a budget and tackle pressing issues including homelessness, addiction and a public defender shortage that has left hundreds of people without their constitutionally guaranteed right to an attorney. The 90-member Legislature must end its work by […]

People in Boardman who cannot drink their water meet with Sen. Merkley

Oregon Health Authority slow to help thousands in northeast Oregon with polluted drinking water

By: - January 17, 2023

Three years ago, eight environmental groups asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency to do something about nitrate contamination in drinking water in northeast Oregon.  In a Jan. 16, 2020 petition, they said that for more than 30 years the state had failed to stop nitrate pollution from farm fertilizers, animal manure and industrial wastewater from […]