Rachael McDonald

Reporter / Interim News Director

As of 7/1/17 Rachael is KLCC's interim News Director.  A search for a new News Director will begin soon.

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 returned to KLCC in 2007. She reports on city and county government, politics, the environment, homelessness  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

Police will be on patrol when the Ducks and Beavers face off in the annual Civil War football game in Eugene Friday. The cops are trying to prevent people from drinking and driving.

Eugene Police Officer Ryan Stone says EPD is working with Springfield PD and Oregon State Police to saturate the roadways around Autzen. Stone says with the Thanksgiving holiday more people will be out.

Jes Burns

The city of Eugene will try to purchase Civic Stadium. At Wednesdays' meeting the City Council voted 5 to 3 to have staff draft a proposal to buy the historic baseball park using funds from its voter passed parks and open space bond measure.

The city's offer is contingent on fundraising efforts by a local group, Save Civic Stadium. If they can raise $5.5 million to pay for renovation and maintenance of the site, the council will move forward.  Mayor Kitty Piercy gave a deadline of 60 days:

Rachael McDonald

Last year, more than 18 thousand Oregon students were homeless at some time during the school year.
The State Department of Education released its annual homeless count of K-12 students last week. KLCC's Rachael McDonald met with a woman who's homeless and has 4 kids in school.

Brown: "Hi guys, welcome home…"

A lawyer who lost his job with Lane County has been awarded attorney's fees after winning a public records lawsuit. Lane County Circuit Judge Jody Mooney ruled today Wednesday that the county must pay Marc Kardell $14 thousand.

Marc Kardell was successful in October in a suit against Lane County. Judge Mooney found the county violated state public records laws by delaying it's response to Kardell's request by 3 months. Kardell spoke outside the courthouse following the judge's decision to award attorney's fees.

wikimedia commons

Eugene Police are warning people whose homes are unoccupied to take measures to prevent theft. Two suspects are facing burglary charges following a multi-week crime spree targeting homes that were listed for sale or in foreclosure.

The two men were recently arrested for stealing thousands of dollars worth of appliances and furniture from numerous empty homes. Debbie Janecek is with EPD's Crime Prevention Unit:

Cover Oregon

Cover Oregon Executive Director Rocky King goes before lawmakers this week to explain why the website still isn't fully functional and the state still has not enrolled a single person in coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Cover Oregon's Chief Communications Officer Amy Fauver  says there have been successes with the state's Medicaid enrollment-- The Oregon Health Plan. She spoke in a conference call with reporters Monday.

wikimedia

Skate boarders may soon have more places to ride in Eugene. The City is considering making it legal for them to use streets and bike paths.

City of Eugene Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator Lee Shoemaker says he's heard from skate boarders who complain they can't skate on the streets or sidewalk in downtown and by the U of O campus. It's currently illegal to skateboard on Eugene's streets.

Shoemaker: "

Rachael McDonald

Nearly half a million Oregonians were considered food insecure in the latest federal survey. Members of the Oregon Hunger Task Force were in Eugene today for a listening session.

The Oregon Hunger Task Force was established by the legislature in 1989.

Director Patti Whitney-Wise is with Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon. She says the state has made great strides but that the recession was a huge setback.

Cheryl Crumbley

NPR's Michele Norris and NPR Senior Producer Walter Ray Watson joined KLCC's Rachael McDonald to talk about The Race Card Project. They're in Eugene to speak with students at the University of Oregon.

Michele Norris will be on OPB's Think Out Loud Wednesday at noon. KLCC will simulcast the show. Norris speaks 7 p.m. at the UO EMU Ballroom.

http://theracecardproject.com/category/u-of-o-race-cards/

City of Eugene

Eugene budget planners are trying to find a long-term solution to recurring financial shortfalls. Last spring city voters rejected a proposed fee to pay for services. The city faced a $5.2 million dollar budget shortfall. Currently it's tapping into reserves to fund libraries, recreation and other services.

Ken Beeson is a citizen member of the Budget Committee. He says over the past 5 years the city has reduced its general fund by about 24 million dollars.

Jes Burns

People who want to save Eugene's historic baseball park are making a last ditch effort. They're raising money in hopes to convince city leaders to purchase Civic Stadium.

The goal is to raise 1 point 2 million dollars. The money would go toward purchase and restoration of the 10 acre site in South Eugene. Friends of Civic Stadium wants to preserve the playing field and 75 year old wooden grandstand. The non-profit has been fighting to preserve Civic for years. Dennis Hebert is president of the organization.

wikepedia

Voters in Corvallis Tuesday approved a 5-year property tax levy to fund city services including the library, pool, senior center, public safety and social service organizations.

The levy will raise more than 3 million dollars per year. The measure passed narrowly with 52 percent of voters in favor. Measure 2-86 will charge property owners about 82 cents for 1000 dollar assessed value.

Julie Manning is Mayor of Corvallis. She is grateful to voters for approving the levy.

Angela Kellner

Springfield School District leaders are disappointed a $62.5 million measure failed to pass Tuesday.

The money was sought to upgrade technology, replace Hamlin Middle School and upgrade other school buildings. Devon Ashbridge is Springfield Schools Communications Specialist:

City of Springfield

Springfield has hired a new Chief of Police. Medford Deputy Police Chief Tim Doney will start his new job  in December.

47-year-old Doney has been with Medford PD for 25 years.  The chief position had 50 applicants and Doney was chosen from 4 finalists. Springfield City Manager Gino Grimaldi says Doney's extensive experience was a big factor.

Grimaldi: "You look for 2 things. His experience as an officer is one. The other thing you look for is experience. Leadership and leadership potential."

Jes Burns

Oregon is looking at ways to improve train service between Eugene / Springfield and the Portland metro area. It's part of the Oregon Passenger Rail Project.

Oregon Department of Transportation says ridership has increased steadily on trains that go back and forth from Eugene to Portland and up to Vancouver, B.C. Over the next 25 years, the population of the Willamette Valley is expected to grow by 35 percent. ODOT's Jim Cox is Project Manager:

albanyvisitors.com

The city of Albany has been coping with more people panhandling lately-- but the number of people who are homeless there remains steady.

In 2006, Albany closed a homeless camp in one of its parks. Since then, homeless advocates have been meeting annually to discuss services for those who are in need.

Marilyn Smith is spokeswoman for the City of Albany. She says they're hoping more members of the general public will attend Wednesday's summit.

People who anticipate needing help paying their utility bills this winter can sign up now for the Low Income Energy Assistance or LIHEAP program.  The program is available to people who are at or below 60 percent of Oregon’s median income. That’s around $18-hundred a month for a single person.

Jason Davis is spokesman for Lane County Health and Human Services. He says the waiting list fills up fast.

Jes Burns

Secretary of State Kate Brown says a University of Oregon research department manipulated payroll in order to avoid mandatory furloughs and salary freezes imposed by the governor.

U of O officials asked the Secretary of State to audit the Institute of Neuroscience after an internal review flagged problems. In 2009, the governor imposed across the board furloughs and pay freezes for all state employees in response to the economic crisis. Tony Green is with the Secretary of State's office.

Curry County

Voters in Curry County are considering a Public Safety Levy on the November 5th ballot which would help pay for rural sheriff patrols and the jail. There hasn't been much public effort to get out the vote.
 

Rachael McDonald

Homeless activists have made headlines in Eugene since the Occupy movement of 2011 brought issues of income inequality to the forefront. There aren't enough shelter beds for the nearly 2000 homeless people in the area. For several months different groups have set up tent camps on public property trying to bring awareness to the problem. They say safe, legal places to sleep are a human right that the city is violating with its camping ban.

Hurlburt: "My name is Tod Hurlburt. Here in the camp, they call me Tinman."

Wendy Jett

Two young women from the Middle East are attending Lane Community College this year. One is from Israel, the other from Palestine. They're working for peace through friendship.

Yaara Tal is 22 years old and comes from a kibbutz in southern Israel, near the Gaza Strip. Deema Yusuf is 18. She's from Nazareth, Palestine. Both took part in a camp for young women called "Creativity for Peace"-- which is geared toward promoting peace in the Middle East. Yusuf says the camp emphasizes communication.

Rachael McDonald

A paving project on a portion of Eugene's Willamette Street includes new bike lanes and some other changes.

The project includes the stretch of street between 18th and 23rd avenues. It's the portion that passes by the shuttered Civic Stadium. Reed Dunbar is a transportation planner with the City of Eugene.

National Earthquake Drill Thursday

Oct 16, 2013
The Great Shake Out

Thursday morning, Oregonians will participate in a national Earthquake Drill. Organizers of the Great Shake Out are encouraging everyone to take part.

Linda Cook is Lane County Emergency Manager. She says it's inevitable that earthquakes will affect our region.

Oregon State University

An Oregon State University research vessel is continuing its federally funded mission even though the federal government is shutdown.

Jes Burns

The University of Oregon's new faculty union has ratified its contract with administration. 

The two-year contract is the result of 10 months of negotiations. Susan Anderson is a German Professor at the University of Oregon.  She says tenured faculty and instructors formed United Academics, a union of more than 18-hundred members. All were working toward a common goal.

Lane County

The Lane County Board of Commissioners will use a Washington State recruitment firm to find candidates for their new Administrator.

Rachael McDonald

Homeless people who've pitched their tents around town in small communities they're calling "Whovilles" met with the Mayor of Eugene Monday. The group wants the city to lift or change its camping ban.

Currently a group of about 30 people is camped at Hilyard and Broadway in Eugene. Whoville representatives met Mayor Kitty Piercy and asked her if they can stay there. Police have cited the campers for violating Eugene's camping ban.

Rachael McDonald

A group called "Support Local Food Rights" is one step closer to placing a measure on the November 2014 ballot in Lane County. Their initiative would restrict Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, from being planted in the county.

The group's original ballot measure for its "Local Food System Ordinance" was rejected by the County Clerk because it addressed more than one subject.
Kneeland: "We're very excited that we've worked in cooperation with the county to submit an initiative that has been approved for the single subject rule."

APEL Extrusions.

Lane County has given a Canadian company a check for 100-thousand dollars as an incentive to expand to Coburg.

APEL manufactures aluminum extrusions in Springfield. It was looking to expand. Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken says the company was considering going to Arizona. The Board voted unanimously to offer APEL an incentive to re-locate to Coburg.

The government shutdown may not have immediate impacts on most Oregonians. But, officials say, if it continues for several weeks, veterans and others who depend on federal programs could be affected. Jason Davis is with Lane County Health and Human Services.

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