Environment

Weather
11:17 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Unusually Dry Winter Sparks Small Wildfires in Oregon

Several wildfires sparked overnight in the Oregon coast range and Cascade foothills. The National Weather service has issued a rare January Red Flag Warning for the region.

Trina Hartley is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland.  She says strong easterly winds encouraged the small blazes. A few are in the Cascades in southern Oregon But there were also several fires in the coast range.

Hartley: "On the coast in particular it's hard to get a fire started in July so to have these fire starts in January is extremely rare."

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weather
10:34 am
Tue January 21, 2014

High Pressure Is The Culprit For South Valley Fog

Credit Rachael McDonald

The South Willamette Valley has been blanketed in fog and clouds with an air stagnation advisory in place for more than a week.

At the Oregon Coast Monday, the sun was shining and the temperature was in the mid-50s. Meanwhile Eugene-Springfield has been encased in fog and clouds with temperatures barely edging above 40.

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Douglas County Parks
9:35 am
Mon January 20, 2014

No Logging In Store For Mildred Kanipe Park

Credit nrttoday.com

There won't be any logging in Douglas County's *Mildred Kanipe (Can-ipe) Park, for now. County Commissioners decided to defer a proposed harvesting plan until all other options have been exhausted.

Douglas County assumed responsibilities for managing the 11-hundred acre plot of land in 2012. The County didn't want to use any of its general funds to develop it into a sustaining campsite. It proposed logging a 20-acre portion to pay for the changes. Douglas County Commissioner Doug Robertson says the group "Friends of Mildred Kanipe Park" offered to raise the funds themselves.

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Climate Change
2:06 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Appeals Court Hears Climate Suit

17-year-old Kelsey Juliana of Eugene is calling on Oregon to do more to address climate change.
Credit Rachael McDonald

Two young Eugene women had their day in court  Thursday in a lawsuit asking the state of Oregon to do more to prevent climate change.  A three judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals heard arguments at the University of Oregon Law School in Eugene.

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Douglas County Parks
5:14 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Mildred Kanipe Park Logging In Question

Credit mildredkanipepark.org

An outpouring of opposition to logging has delayed a decision by Douglas County Commissioners on the future of a public park.

Mildred Kanipe Memorial Park near Oakland is over a thousand acres. The parks department requires it to cover its own costs. A planning committee has recommended clear-cutting 20 acres of the park. A campground, built with the logging revenue, would make the park self-sustaining.

Gary Groth is Douglas County's Parks Director. He says the county has to follow a court judgment to raise money. It requires the county to use "sustained yield."

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Environment
1:04 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Information Gap In Northwest Oil Train Emergency Response

More oil is moving along Northwest railways. The Bakken Oil fields of North Dakota are booming. But Bakken oil is explosive at relatively low temperatures. There have been several oil train accidents since the boom began, one of them costing the lives of 47 people in Quebec.

That’s prompted KUOW’s EarthFix team to take a look at how prepared the Northwest is for the rise of oil train traffic. Ashley Ahearn reports.

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Science
6:00 am
Mon January 13, 2014

How A 3-D Printer Is Helping Preserve A Saber-Toothed Salmon

The University of Oregon's saber-toothed fossil skull, prepared for a CT scan.
Credit University of Oregon

For years paleontologists have searched for a way to duplicate fragile fossils without damaging them. Now scientists with the University of Oregon say 3D printing is the secret.

The University’s Museum is building an exhibit on the evolution of salmon.

The centerpiece is the fossil head of a sabertooth salmon that spawned in Oregon roughly 5 million years ago.

Imagine a sockeye, “Put a big old gnarly tooth in the front jaw. That would be a saber-tooth salmon. And also make it a lot bigger.“

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Forest Management
6:53 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Tree Sitters Don’t Buy Logging Designed To Mimic Nature

Kate Armstrong climbing up to tree camp. She and her fellow Cascadia Forest Defender protesters are concerned about a plan to log 120-year-old forests on O&C Lands.
Amelia Templeton

A group of protesters and college students has spent the past six months living in the woods on a ridge near Roseburg, Oregon. They’re using civil disobedience to try to prevent logging on the site. It sounds like an old story in the Northwest. But there’s a new twist. A forestry professor says the logging was designed to mimic nature.

Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management sold the rights to log a small grove of Douglas firs to a private company called Roseburg Forest Products.

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Oak Savannah
7:22 am
Thu January 9, 2014

In Oregon’s Wine Country, Family Holds Onto Oak Tradition

Sarah and Ben Deumling stand beneath one of the many oak trees on their 1,300 acre property northwest of Salem.
Credit Devan Schwartz

The Northwest wine industry has grown tremendously over the last few decades.

That’s had a big economic impact but that growth has also changed the region’s landscape.

In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, you don’t see a lot of oak trees anymore. Spacious oak savannas have been replaced by farms and vineyards.

Devan Schwartz reports on one family holding onto an old oak tradition, despite the odds.

Economists are predicting a global wine shortage, and that means demand for Northwest grapes will only grow.

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Ski resorts
6:34 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Ski Industry Praying For Snow After Record Dry Year

Mt Bachelor is one of the few northwest ski resorts that has opened for the season so far.
Credit Mt Bachelor Ski Resort

2013 was a record dry year in Eugene and Medford [Oregon]. Many areas around the region have gotten half of their average snowfall or less. That’s got Northwest ski resorts, many of which haven’t even opened yet, nervously waiting for snow. So are thousands of workers and retailers who depend on the ski season. And, there’s little relief in sight.

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