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.

DEQ issues record fine to Lincoln City company that sold millions in fraudulent carbon credits

By: - September 30, 2022

A Lincoln City company that builds electric vehicle charging stations defrauded the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality out of $2 million in carbon credits, according to the agency. On Friday, it fined Thompson Technical Services, or TTS Charging, $2.7 million for falsely claiming credits through a state greenhouse emissions reductions program and selling them to […]

Oregon schools getting $3 million in federal dollars for school safety and prevention

By: - September 30, 2022

Each of Oregon’s 19 regional education service districts will be able to hire a full-time specialist to oversee school safety and prevention programs with new federal funds.  The specialists, who support mental health and suicide prevention programs and crisis response teams at schools across the state, will be paid with federal Covid relief money distributed […]

DEQ fines Lamb Weston in Hermiston $127,000 for nitrogen pollution

By: - September 27, 2022

A Lamb Weston plant in Hermiston allowed hundreds of tons of excess nitrogen to be spread on two farms, potentially adding pollution to an already critically contaminated aquifer, according to a penalty issued by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.  On Tuesday, the agency fined the Idaho-based potato products manufacturer $127,800 for 90 violations of […]

Commission sets bigger targets for cutting emissions from Oregon fuel suppliers

By: - September 27, 2022

Oregon fuel distributors will need to move quicker and take stronger action to cut greenhouse gas emissions under new targets approved by the state’s Environmental Quality Commission. The group of five, governor-appointed members voted Friday to change the timeline for the Clean Fuels Program and increase the emissions targets that fuel distributors in the state […]

State legislators approve nearly $6 million for water emergencies in rural Oregon

By: - September 26, 2022

State lawmakers granted nearly $6 million to address well water issues in eastern and southern Oregon. The money was approved at a meeting of the state’s legislative Emergency Board on Friday. The board approves emergency expenditures and federal grant applications between legislative sessions. In northeast Oregon, Morrow and Umatilla counties will receive about $882,000 from […]

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality names interim leader after director resigns

By: - September 23, 2022

Leah Feldon, deputy director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will lead the agency following the departure of former Director Richard Whitman this week.  Feldon was named interim director at a Friday meeting of the Environmental Quality Commission by its five governor-appointed members. The commission oversees the environmental quality department.  Feldon has worked at […]

chicken operation

State group finds livestock, chicken farm regulations need review

By: - September 23, 2022

For months, a group of state lawmakers, farmers, environmentalists, county commissioners and opponents and supporters of industrial chicken farms have discussed the future of these operations in Oregon.  On Thursday, Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, who chaired the group, told a state legislative committee that lawmakers should review state water laws for livestock, allow the Oregon […]

Tests show Oregon students’ proficiency in core subjects declined during Covid

By: - September 22, 2022

The latest results from statewide assessment tests in math, English and science show students across Oregon lost ground during the pandemic. Though participation was lower than in years past, an average of 85% of students participated this year in the assessment tests, called Smarter Balanced tests, which are required by state and federal law unless […]

Director of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality abruptly resigns

By: - September 21, 2022

The head of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality resigned from the job this week, three months before his scheduled retirement.  Richard Whitman, who has led the agency since 2016, had announced in June that he would retire at the end of the year. Department spokesperson Harry Esteve said Whitman is resigning early due to personal […]

Fewer community groups got state funding for summer learning due to insurance requirement

By: - September 20, 2022

Last year, youth in Maupin had the opportunity to join a summer program that brought them on field trips across the state. It was run by South Wasco Youth Programs, a nonprofit serving about 110 students in north central Oregon.  “We’re in a rural, impoverished area, so to do that was pretty amazing,”Director Amber Anderson […]

Lawsuit by 13 counties against state over logging practices ends at Oregon Supreme Court

By: - September 20, 2022

The Oregon Supreme Court has ended a six-year legal battle between the state and 13 western Oregon counties over logging practices by declining to hear the case. In 2016, the counties, along with 150 tax districts within them, brought a class action lawsuit against the state and the Oregon Department of Forestry for failing to […]

A teacher cleans a classroom to prepare it for students

How has more than $1.5 billion in federal Covid relief money changed Oregon schools?

By: - September 19, 2022

Jared Cordon, the school superintendent in Roseburg in southern Oregon, cannot afford to pay for new heating, cooling and ventilation systems in the bulk of his district’s 12 schools, some of which are nearly 100 years old.  Despite receiving $19 million in federal Covid relief funding since 2020, Cordon learned early on that the money […]