Karen Richards


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

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Bow hunting season opened in Oregon over the weekend. Local land managers are welcoming visitors to the forests, but they have several cautions.

Recent rains and cooler temperatures have brought a taste of fall.

But Jude McHugh of the Willamette National Forest says the moisture hasn’t penetrated the tree canopy, and fire danger remains high:


People in and around Sweet Home will soon have a new health care center, due to a $1.1 million dollar federal grant.

The two-year grant comes from Affordable Care Act funds, and will be used to expand an existing clinic. Sherlyn Dahl is Director of Community Health Centers for Benton and Linn Counties. She says it’s important for residents of rural areas to be able to easily find high-quality wrap-around services:

Northwest wildfires have had widespread effects on travel and air quality. Another unfortunate consequence is a critically low blood supply.

Several compounding factors have squeezed the blood supply. Mobile donation drivers can’t get to some rural sites, and university and high school drives aren’t yet running. There are other reasons, too, says Cynthia Vignos of the Lane Blood Center:


Fresh, local produce has been a fixture in downtown Eugene since 1915. The Lane County Farmers Market celebrates its 100th anniversary this weekend.

It used to be called the Eugene Producers’ Public Market, but it originally opened in the same space it occupies today: 8th Avenue and Oak Street. Today the Farmer’s Market includes more than 85 growers, and has incorporated the wintertime holiday market, and Tuesdays and Thursdays in the summer. Carrie Swarts is the Market Manager. She says the long-term dream is for an indoor-outdoor space at the Park Blocks:


Arts and cultural organizations around the state will benefit from this year’s record-breaking Oregon Cultural Trust grants. The awards, totaling $2.6 million dollars, are up 30 percent over last year.

The Oregon Cultural Trust is funded by Oregon residents, who receive tax credits for their donations. This year’s record high giving, together with a legislative change to the distribution model, allowed the Trust to distribute more money than ever. The Lane Arts Council received over $21,000 for an “arts asset map.” Executive Director Liora Sponko explains:


Firefighters continue to battle a wildfire sparked Wednesday afternoon near Eugene. The Chambers Mill fire, about three miles south of Lorane, has worsened local air quality. Firefighters worked through the night, bulldozing a line around most of the perimeter. Cynthia Orlando is with the Oregon Department of Forestry, which is fighting the fire:

Lane Regional Air Protection Agency

Air quality in the south Willamette Valley declined earlier this week due to smoke from wildfires in southern Oregon and northern California. A new fire south of Eugene has further increased risks. Residents may need to prepare for a long stretch of hazy conditions.


Oregon’s new gun background check law took effect yesterday [Sunday]. The legislation requires all gun sales, including private exchanges, to be vetted through a federally licensed dealer.

With the new law, Oregon becomes the 12th state to require universal background checks. Legislators hope criminal and mental health checks for private and online sales will reduce gun violence in the state. Amy Ruiz is with the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund:

Karen Richards

A recent article in the New Yorker and the July Fourth earthquake near Springfield have generated concern for the potential of a massive Cascadia event in the Northwest. Scientists at the U of O have been working to strengthen Oregon’s early warning systems.


If July felt hot and sweaty, it was for good reason. The heat broke records in the Willamette Valley.

It was the hottest July ever in Eugene, crushing the previous record, set in 1958. Andy Bryant with the National Weather Service says the heat was well above normal:

Bryant: “So the average temperature for Eugene for the month of July was 71.5 degrees, that’s 4.7 degrees above average. The average high, if you look at all the highs during the month of July, the average was 88.2, also a few degrees above average.”