Rachael McDonald

Interim Program Director

Rachael McDonald started her career at KLCC as a volunteer in the newsroom in 2000.  Rachael was hired by the Northwest News Network to establish their Richland bureau in 2004. She returned to KLCC in 2007. She reports on city and county government, politics, the environment, homelessness  and a variety of other local and regional stories. Rachael has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Oregon. Rachael has won numerous awards for her reporting including first place from PRNDI for her story "Garden Brings Community Together" and for her interview with Naseem Rhaka, author of "The Crying Tree".  Rachael enjoys reading, hiking, biking and cooking.

Rachael was named News Director in June, 2018.  She was immediately named interim Program Director until a permanent PD is hired. 

Ways to Connect

Oregon State University

An Oregon State University research vessel is continuing its federally funded mission even though the federal government is shutdown.

Jes Burns

The University of Oregon's new faculty union has ratified its contract with administration. 

The two-year contract is the result of 10 months of negotiations. Susan Anderson is a German Professor at the University of Oregon.  She says tenured faculty and instructors formed United Academics, a union of more than 18-hundred members. All were working toward a common goal.

Lane County

The Lane County Board of Commissioners will use a Washington State recruitment firm to find candidates for their new Administrator.

Rachael McDonald

Homeless people who've pitched their tents around town in small communities they're calling "Whovilles" met with the Mayor of Eugene Monday. The group wants the city to lift or change its camping ban.

Currently a group of about 30 people is camped at Hilyard and Broadway in Eugene. Whoville representatives met Mayor Kitty Piercy and asked her if they can stay there. Police have cited the campers for violating Eugene's camping ban.

Rachael McDonald

A group called "Support Local Food Rights" is one step closer to placing a measure on the November 2014 ballot in Lane County. Their initiative would restrict Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, from being planted in the county.

The group's original ballot measure for its "Local Food System Ordinance" was rejected by the County Clerk because it addressed more than one subject.
Kneeland: "We're very excited that we've worked in cooperation with the county to submit an initiative that has been approved for the single subject rule."

APEL Extrusions.

Lane County has given a Canadian company a check for 100-thousand dollars as an incentive to expand to Coburg.

APEL manufactures aluminum extrusions in Springfield. It was looking to expand. Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken says the company was considering going to Arizona. The Board voted unanimously to offer APEL an incentive to re-locate to Coburg.

The government shutdown may not have immediate impacts on most Oregonians. But, officials say, if it continues for several weeks, veterans and others who depend on federal programs could be affected. Jason Davis is with Lane County Health and Human Services.

Cover Oregon

Oregon's new health insurance marketplace-- part of the Affordable Care Act-- has run into some glitches on its launch day. Cover Oregon's online system is not functioning properly.

Cover Oregon is not correctly determining eligibility for tax credits, the Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids. The problem is expected to be fixed in a couple of weeks. Jason Davis with Lane County Health and Human Services says it's possible to get health coverage, just not through the website.

Pixabay

The weekend brought two heavy rainstorms through western Oregon. The rain made this the wettest September on record in many parts of the state.

Eugene's rainfall was measured at more than 6 inches. The previous record for the month of September was about 5.5 inches in the late 1800s. Astoria got more than 10, also breaking its record for the month.

Andy Bryant is a hydrologist with the national Weather Service in Portland. He says two storms came through this weekend.

Lane Community College

Classes start Monday (September 30th) at Oregon's public Universities and community colleges.  Enrollment is down at Lane Community College. Lane has come to depend more on tuition and the school is facing a budget shortfall.

Cover Oregon

On Tuesday, October 1st, Oregon launches its health insurance exchange program-- a key piece of President Obama's health care overhaul. It's called Cover Oregon.

Michael Cox describes the program in a nutshell:

Cox: "Cover Oregon is an online marketplace where customers can come, shop for health insurance, compare plans side by side, access financial help, and get enrolled in coverage, starting in October."

Cox is a communications specialist with Cover Oregon.
He says their goal is to make the process easy.

Lane County has released a report on the investigation into fired County Administrator Liane Richardson.

seiu

The Oregon University System and its classified workers have reached a tentative agreement on a 2-year contract, averting a threatened strike on the first day of classes. The agreement was reached at 2:30 Thursday morning .

BLM

The Bureau of Land Management is in the scoping stages of a proposed logging project east of Eugene near the town of Vida.
 

Lane Community College

Classes begin next week at Lane Community College. LCC President Mary Spilde talks with KLCC's Rachael McDonald about expectations for the coming year. The college is experiencing a drop in enrollment which means a possible $2 million budget deficit. But Spilde is hopeful the legislature will restore some state funding to community colleges when it meets for a special session in Salem Monday.

City of Eugene.

The Eugene City Council Monday voted 6 to 2 to allow small homeless camps. I spoke with City Councilor Claire Syrett Tuesday to get more details on the ordinance. Syrett says it was proposed by City Manager John Ruiz who will bring the council a list of potential sites on public or private property or religious and non-profit organizations.
Claire Syrett spoke with KLCC's Rachael McDonald.

Rachael McDonald

The Republican-controlled House has approved a bill to sharply increase logging in national forests. It includes a plan drafted by members of Oregon's congressional delegation to raise money for beleaguered counties.

The O & C Bill sets aside about million acres of Oregon's public land for preservation. Another million or so would be managed under the state forest practices act. Timber harvest revenue would help counties like Lane. Sid Leiken is Chair of the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

Rachael McDonald

The Eugene City Council heard from numerous members of the homeless community and their advocates at a packed meeting Monday night.  

Last week, the Lane County Board of Commissioners closed Free Speech Plaza in Eugene. They said they needed to clean the plaza after people had pitched their tents there for three weeks protesting the city's camping ban. Angela Bartow, a member of the protest group SLEEPS, spoke at Monday's council meeting. She identified herself as un-housed, a mother and a student.

Devil's Staircase
Rachael McDonald

Oregon's coast range forests are a patchwork of private, state and federal land, much of it heavily logged for the past century. One pocket of old growth forest southwest of Eugene has avoided the chainsaws, mainly because of its steep terrain. There's a bill in congress to designate the 30-thousand acre tract as Wilderness. KLCC's Rachael McDonald took a guided hike to the secluded Devil's Staircase.
 
Our journey begins at the end of a logging road about 10 miles northeast of Reedsport.
 
Derbyshire: "This is where we're trying to get…"
 

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