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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Homeless Issues
1:56 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

30-Day Deadline For Whoville

The Whoville camp has been at West Broadway and Hilyard in Eugene since September.
Credit Rachael McDonald

Whoville residents have a month before the City of Eugene will shut it down. Meanwhile the City Manager is tasked with finding somewhere else for the 30 to 40 homeless people to go. The City Council voted 6 to 2 Wednesday to set the deadline.

Counselor Claire Syrett made the proposal. The City Manager recently announced the Whoville camp at West Broadway and Hilyard would have to close. Police put up no trespassing signs, then a fence with openings around the lot. Syrett says the council heard from community members asking for the camp to stay.

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Bethel School District
12:23 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Bethel Adds Back School Days

Bethel is adding back 2 days because of the snow days in December. It's restoring 3 other days because of a better budget outlook.
Credit Bethel School District

Students at Eugene's Bethel School District will get five days back in their academic calendar this spring.

That's a combination of make up days for last month's snowstorm and a better budget outlook. The district is adding the 5 days back the week following spring break. That week in April had been scheduled as Budget Reduction Days. Bethel Superintendent Colt Gill says the district surveyed students, parents and staff.

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Homeless Issues
9:10 am
Wed January 29, 2014

OPB And KLCC Focus On Eugene's Homeless Issues on Think Out Loud

KLCC and OPB will collaborate on a Think Out Loud program focusing on homelessness in Eugene. Listen at noon Thursday on KLCC for a discussion of what works and what's possible as we address the crisis of homelessness.

State of the Union
7:46 am
Wed January 29, 2014

DeFazio Responds To President's State of The Union

Credit http://defazio.house.gov/

4th District Congressman Peter DeFazio praised President Obama for his focus on the need for jobs in his state of the union address. The Springfield Democrat agrees these jobs can come from investments in transportation infrastructure. And, DeFazio says Oregonians who are unemployed need their extended benefits.

Peter DeFazio: "I agree that it’s time for Congress to renew unemployment insurance for Oregonians and Americans who want to work but can't find a job. There are 5 unemployed Oregonians chasing every job in our state."

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Employment
11:46 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Unemployment Rate Drops Slightly in Lane And Douglas Counties

Lane and Douglas County saw some improvement in their jobless rates last month.  In Lane unemployment dropped to 6.9 percent while Douglas County dropped to 10 percent.

Brian Rooney is a regional Labor Economist with the State Employment Department. He says December saw modest job growth, mainly in the service industry.

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Homeless Issues
9:00 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Eugene Considers Expanding Homeless Rest-Stops, Restricting Fireworks

Eugene Police have put up a fence around Whoville with openings to enter and exit.
Credit Desmond O'Boyle

Eugene City Councilors Monday proposed extending the sunset date on the rest-stop ordinance until October 31, 2014. This will require a public hearing.

Councilor Claire Syrett says she'd like the city to add a third rest-stop for homeless people at 8th and Mill or another location near downtown. Residents of Whoville, a homeless camp at West Broadway and Hilyard in Eugene have been told they'll have to leave that site. Last Friday, police erected a fence with openings around the lot. Michael Adams was among those who testified to council.

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College Textbooks
11:26 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Textbooks Are Too Expensive For College Students

OSPIRG Monday released a national survey on textbook costs.
Credit Rachael McDonald

College textbooks are too expensive and many students can't afford them. The Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group released a national survey Monday on textbook costs and alternatives.

Lane Community College Student Body President Paul Zito says he has only bought 4 textbooks in the 3 years he's been a student. He takes a normal course-load but he can't afford the books. Instead Zito looks for the information himself.

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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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Homeless Issues
1:21 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Homeless Advocates Call On Mayor To Declare Housing Emergency

Homeless advocates say the city is wrong to close Whoville.
Credit Rachael McDonald

Homeless advocates are calling on Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy to use her executive power to declare a housing emergency so a homeless camp can remain. The group held a press conference Thursday at Whoville.

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Oregon Forest
7:46 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Oregon Truffles Reflect The Bounty Of Oregon

Kris Jacobson and her dog Ilsa
Rachael McDonald

Oregon truffles don't have the allure or high price-tag of their European cousins and have had a less than stellar reputation in the past. Local food advocates are trying to change that. The founder of the Oregon Truffle Festival says using dogs to search out the underground fungus can improve the quality of the truffles and he's researching ways to make them easier to find. Oregon truffles are gaining cache among chefs.

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