Rachael McDonald

Morning Edition Host / Reporter

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 reported on the progress of cleanup at Hanford Nuclear Reservation, chemical weapons destruction at the Umatilla Chemical Depot, agriculture and wine. Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 to be the host of Morning Edition. She also reports on Lane County, forest issues 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.

Ways To Connect

Rachael McDonald

Crews are still mopping up embers at Eugene's Civic Stadium where the historic grandstands burned down Monday.

The Eugene Police arson team will investigate the fire. Chief Pete Kerns says it's unknown whether the blaze was intentional. Witnesses report 3 or 4 young people were seen at the stadium before the fire. Kerns says he's hoping for the public's help.

Kerns: "Typically in cases like this that have so much community interest we learn who the people were that were seen leaving a scene like this so we don't want anyone to be afraid to come to the police."

Devil's Staircase
Rachael McDonald

Oregon U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced a bill last week to expand wilderness in the state. The legislation has failed to pass 3 times in Congress.

The bill would designate more than 200 thousand acres of land as wilderness or national recreation areas. The bill creates the Devils Staircase Wilderness in the Oregon Coast Range southwest of Eugene. It also expands the Wild Rogue Wilderness. Josh Laughlin with the conservation group Cascadia Wildlands says he's hopeful public support can help get the bill passed this time.

Alan Sylvestre / OPB

Friday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court extends marriage rights to same-sex couples in all 50 states. Oregon's ban on gay marriage was struck down in May 2014 by Federal Judge Michael McShane.

Matt Friday and Bruce Carlson of Eugene were the first gay couple to get married in Lane County after Judge McShane's ruling. They've been together for nearly 30 years. Matt Friday says the supreme Court decision means a lot.

Rachael McDonald

The McKenzie River Trust for years has been working to return the area around the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers to a more natural free-flowing waterway.

At Green Island, north of Coburg, the trust is restoring a side channel of the Willamette River where gravel pits had disrupted habitat for salmon and other wildlife.

The project was a partnership with Wildish Company which did the work of reconfiguring the three ponds.

Jon Rosman / OPB

Marijuana becomes legal to use in Oregon July 1st. Eugene police say they'll treat the drug much like they do alcohol.

Measure 91 was approved by voters last year. It legalizes recreational marijuana. As of July 1st it will be legal for people over 21 to possess up to one ounce of weed. People can consume it in private but they cannot yet legally buy or sell pot.

Bills: "There is a gap there that we all recognize including the state legislature and OLCC and I know there's been discussions in Salem about how to bridge that gap."

University of Oregon

As the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of gay marriage as soon as Friday, a  University of Oregon researcher found no harmful effects for children of same-sex parents. The study was published in the journal "Social Science Research".

Rachael McDonald

With near triple-digit temperatures forecast for the weekend in many parts of Oregon, people will seek relief in local rivers and lakes. KLCC's Rachael McDonald asked Lane County Search and Rescue Coordinator Tim Chase for some tips on water safety.

Chase says it's essential to wear a life jacket. He says if you fall in the water, it buys you time.

Peacehealth

Lane County organizations are collaborating on a 2nd county-wide Community Health Needs Assessment. This week, there's a visioning session to gather input on the process.

Doctor Rick Kincade is Director of Community Based Services at Peacehealth in Eugene. He says the first health assessment, completed 2 years ago, found problems related to high rates of tobacco use. Kincade says since then, health providers stepped up smoking cessation efforts. He says they found health disparities based on income and ethnicity.

Rachael McDonald

An unusual number of Chinook salmon carcasses have been found in the Willamette River around Portland. State wildlife biologists are blaming warm water.

Salmon need cool water to thrive. Nick Swart, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says in the last week they've measured temperatures at 75 degrees around Willamette Falls.   

Swart: "That's really a precarious condition for migrating fish."

Jeff Ziller, with ODFW's Springfield office, says the warmer water is due to drought conditions.

Eugene voters could see a property tax levy on the November ballot to help fund library services. The City Council discussed several options at its Wednesday work session. The previous library levy was allowed to expire four years ago. The Sheldon, Bethel and downtown branches now receive about 10-million dollars a year from the city's general fund. But the needs of other departments, as well as increased benefits and payroll costs have led to cuts in library hours.

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