Karen Richards


Karen Richards has been a volunteer reporter since the fall of 2012.

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September’s National Preparedness Month has sparked renewed interest in earthquakes and other natural disasters in Oregon. Corvallis will host a readiness forum tonight (Thursday).


Today (Monday), trade ministers from the United States and 11 other countries reached agreement on the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership. Oregon’s Congressman Peter DeFazio, however, continues to oppose it.

DeFazio issued a statement calling the TPP “the biggest, worst trade deal in history.” He’s been speaking against the TPP for years. If passed, it would phase out tariffs and other barriers to trade between the United States, Japan, Vietnam and others. In June, DeFazio said the TPP has the same problems as earlier policies, like the North American Free Trade Agreement:


Hundreds of Lane County volunteers will take to the water and the shore this weekend to freshen up the Willamette River.

Karen Richards

This year, for the first time, all Oregon schools have the funding to offer full-day kindergarten. In Eugene's 4J district, teachers and parents have embraced the change.


September is National Preparedness Month and a series of emergency response events has been taking place across the state. Tomorrow (Tuesday) congressman Peter DeFazio will host an earthquake early warning roundtable at the U of O.

As the ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Congressman DeFazio introduced a federal bill to fund an earthquake early warning system for the west coast. The roundtable is an official committee hearing. Scott Ashford, Dean of Engineering at OSU, studies the effects to utilities and services in an emergency:


Eugene residents love their parks. Yet a lack of funding has caused maintenance cuts and kept new parks from opening. Yesterday (Wednesday) the City Council approved having a public hearing on a proposal to collect a fee for parks operations.

The Council voted 5 to 3 to look at changing a city ordinance, allowing it to increase an existing stormwater fee. Public Works Spokesman Eric Jones says the small addition to the monthly utility bill would be an efficient solution:

Karen Richards

Officials broke ground on a new affordable housing complex in north Eugene today (Monday). Phase two of Bascom Village will be sure to fill up quickly.

Near County Farm Road and Coburg Road, earth movers clear the ground for the second half of the Bascom Village community, which will have 48 units.

Karen Richards

Elected officials and Chamber of Commerce leaders gathered in Eugene today (Thursday) to recognize a company that's hired 250 people in just four months. FirstSource Solution plans to more than double that number in its next phase.

The Mumbai-based company signed a 10-year lease on the Chad Drive property. FirstSource provides online chat support for a large telecommunications company. Chris Autrey is the Site Director. He says even though the Eugene area has several other customer support centers, his company hasn't had difficulty finding workers:

Karen Richards

As Eugene 4J schools prepare for students, several Roosevelt Middle School staff had a preview of the place they'll be working a year from now.

About two dozen teachers and staff donned hard hats to walk next door and tour the project, which began about four months ago. The new school is coming together quickly. Maintenance Coordinator Randy Williams is on the design committee:

Karen Richards

Dr. Gustavo Balderas, Eugene 4J's new superintendent, addressed teachers, staff and administrators from the district this [Thursday] morning. Most were meeting him for the first time.

The response to the new Superintendent was overwhelmingly positive. His speech received a standing ovation, unusual for a back to school presentation. Doug Doerfert directs the band at South Eugene High School:

Doerfert: "I felt it was very inspirational, just to see a different background from another superintendent."