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.

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Elliott State Forest
12:37 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

UPDATE: Activists Disrupt Monday Morning at Biomass Plant In Eugene

Credit Cascadia Forest Defenders

Updated: 7:20pm

Three people were arrested at a protest yesterday at the Seneca-Jones Biomass plant in north Eugene.  The Lane County Sheriff's Office says about 100 people gathered outside the facility to oppose the bio-mass operation and the company's plans to log old growth trees in southwest Oregon.  

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Education
12:18 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Independent Boards Take Leadership at Oregon's 3 Largest Universities

UO President Michael Gottfredson
Credit University of Oregon

As of July 1st, three public universities in Oregon are now governed by their own boards instead of being under the auspices of the State Board of Higher Education.

Oregon State, Portland State and the University of Oregon transitioned this week to independent management. The other 4 public universities in Oregon will move to their own boards next year. U of O President Michael Gottfredson says with a decline in state funding, the older systems of governance of higher education need to change.

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Wildfire
10:58 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Crews Brace for Potential Fires in Oregon

The Two Bulls Fire burned nearly 7,000 acres last month west of Bend.
Credit Central Oregon Fire Info

Hot weather, the potential for thunderstorms, and 4th of July fireworks have Oregon fire officials on edge this week. Crews are poised for possible large fire starts.

Carol Connolly is with the Northwest Fire Coordination Center in Portland. She says thunderstorms are forecast for midweek in central and southern Oregon.

Connolly: "So, hot weather, no rain, with a potential of high winds in those areas-- we're looking at an increased chance of large fire activity based on lightning strikes."

And then there's Independence Day.

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City of Eugene Budget
12:02 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Eugene Parks Closing Restrooms

One restroom will be closed at Hendricks Park (pictured), Sheldon and Sladden with budget cuts to Eugene's parks.
Credit City of Eugene

Visitors to Eugene's Parks will see taller, browner grass and have fewer places to go to the bathroom. That's because the city's new budget includes a $300,000 reduction in funding for the Parks and Open Space Division.

The new budget takes effect July 1st. Craig Carnegie is Eugene Parks and Open Space Director:

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Bees
10:06 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Oregon Places Temporary Ban On Bee-Killing Pesticides

Thousands of bees died after pesticides were applied to Linden trees this month at an apartment complex in Eugene.
Credit Beyond Toxics

After bee die-offs this month in Eugene and Beaverton, the Oregon Agriculture Department is placing a 6 month ban on pesticides containing two active ingredients that are dangerous to the insects. 

 

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Mckenzie River
6:54 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Turning Gravel Pits Into Fish Habitat

Joe Moll with McKenzie River Trust (left) and Randy Hledik of Wildish Company at Green Island.
Credit Rachael McDonald

The McKenzie River Trust is embarking on a project to turn gravel beds into native fish habitat on its Green Island property north of Eugene. The project brings together two unexpected partners: conservationists and the gravel industry.

The Coburg Aggregate Reclamation Project, or CARP, is at a place along the historic McKenzie River channel where gravel was mined for many years. Now, three ponds are the remnants of that mining operation. Joe Moll is Executive Director of McKenzie River Trust.

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Eugene 4J
12:33 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

School Superintendent Shelley Berman Gives A Year's Notice At 4J

Sheldon "Shelly" Berman asked to be released from his contract as Eugene 4J Superintendent. He'll leave the district in June 2015.
Credit Eugene 4J School District

Shelley Berman will leave his post as Eugene 4-J School District Superintendent after next school year. Berman asked to be released from his contract early and the school board Wednesday agreed.Berman says there are a few reasons for his decision to move on, one is family.

Berman: "I have a family that's distributed all across the country right now and we're trying to bring everybody back together in one place."

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Bees
1:18 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

"Bee Friendly" Plants Can Be Poisonous To Pollinators

Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics with her backyard beehive in Eugene.
Credit Rachael McDonald

A national report released Wednesday finds that half of the plants sold at major retailers as "bee friendly" are actually poisonous to bees. The plants are pre-treated with pesticides that are harmful to pollinators according to the study by Friends of the Earth.

Neonicotinoids are pesticides that kill bees and other pollinators. Lisa Arkin is with Eugene-based Beyond Toxics. She says retailers don't label plants to indicate whether they've been treated with these chemicals.

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Sexual Assault
12:09 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

UO Bans Basketball Players Accused of Sexual Assault

Credit Jes Burns

The University of Oregon has found three former basketball players responsible for sexual misconduct and banned them from campus for 4 to 10 years.

Attorney John Clune represents the young woman, a U of O student who accused Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin of sexually assaulting her repeatedly at parties following a basketball game in March.  Clune says his client is relieved to hear the players won't be coming back to the U of O while she's there.

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Illegal Fireworks
8:42 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Eugene Limits Fireworks

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Eugene City Council Monday approved restrictions on fireworks.

The council voted to limit the days when fireworks can be set off. They can be used only between June 23rd and July 6 and on December 31st and January 1st.

Another ordinance would make the use of illegal fireworks enforceable under the city's social host ordinance so that residents or home owners are held responsible when they're ignited.

The council has been hoping to crack down on illegal fireworks because of the noise, fire danger and injuries. Councilor Mike Clark:

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