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

Lane County

Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner announced last week he's resigning from his position. In August, he'll become the Director of the Forensic Services Division of the Oregon State Police. Gardner spoke with KLCC's Rachael McDonald. She asked him why he's making the change.

Brian Davies / Register Guard (pool)

Two Eugene teens have appealed a Lane County judge's ruling against their climate change lawsuit. The appeal was filed Tuesday.

Kelsey Juliana and Olivia Chernaik are part of a global youth-driven campaign to get governments to do more to curtail the effects of climate change.

St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County

The waiting list for a new affordable housing complex in north Eugene opened Monday morning. According to Saint Vincent de Paul's Executive Director, people started camping out Sunday to be first in line for Bascom Village.

St Vinnie's Terry McDonald says in the 25 years his agency has been in the affordable housing business he's never seen such demand.

John Stapleton

Four boys will likely be charged with 2nd degree arson for causing the fire that destroyed Eugene's Historic Civic Stadium Monday. A fifth boy came to police Wednesday morning.

Witnesses had reported seeing a group of boys around the press box at Civic before the fire Monday evening. Eugene Police Detective Steve Williams says three of the boys are 12 and the other is 10 years old. He says they didn't give him a reason for setting the fire.

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".

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