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

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.

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.

Rachael McDonald

Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio met with unemployed Lane County residents Wednesday at Worksource Lane in Eugene. He's frustrated with fellow lawmakers who allowed federal extended unemployment benefits to expire between Christmas and New Years.

Congressman DeFazio says in Oregon there are an average of at least 5 unemployed people applying for each open position.

Rachael McDonald

The South Willamette Valley has been blanketed in fog and clouds with an air stagnation advisory in place for more than a week.

At the Oregon Coast Monday, the sun was shining and the temperature was in the mid-50s. Meanwhile Eugene-Springfield has been encased in fog and clouds with temperatures barely edging above 40.

Rachael McDonald

The City of Eugene Friday posted "no trespassing" signs at a homeless camp near downtown that calls itself Whoville. The community of around 30 people has been living in tents at Hilyard and Broadway since September.

Eugene Police Sergeant Larry Crompton came to the camp to talk with residents and explain what's going on:

Crompton: "The signs that are up right now say 'prohibited camping' and those will be changed to 'no trespassing'. And there will come a time in the near future when there will be notice that  the people here will have to leave."

Rachael McDonald

Two young Eugene women had their day in court  Thursday in a lawsuit asking the state of Oregon to do more to prevent climate change.  A three judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals heard arguments at the University of Oregon Law School in Eugene.

Jes Burns

The Eugene 4J School Board has eliminated an offer of $16.56 cents for the 10 acre Civic Stadium property in South Eugene. That brings the number of proposals to three. The board hopes to have a decision by mid February.

oregon14.com

This summer, elite young athletes from more than 200 countries will come to Hayward Field in Eugene to compete in a six day Track & Field event. TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna Wednesday announced a challenge for local youth.

Lane County

The Lane County Board of Commissioners elected Pat Farr as chair Tuesday for 2014. He will set the agenda for the governing body that represents more than 350 thousand people.

Farr says one of the first things the board will do is hire a new County Administrator:

Rachael McDonald

Last year, Lane County voters passed a levy to fund jail beds.  This was one of the successes touted Monday morning. It was a "rockin" State of Lane County event.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Oregon Health officials say it's not too late to get a flu shot. They hope you will because there's been an uptick in cases in the past week. A number of people in Lane County have tested positive for swine flu, or H1N1.

Pixabay

2013 was a really dry year for Oregon. Climate scientists at Oregon State University say it was the driest on record for Eugene despite a soggy September.

Deputy Director of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU Kathie Dello says Eugene saw less than half of its normal precipitation this year. Dello says September brought a lot of rain but not enough to make up for the rest of the year. The snow-storm in early December was very dry. Dello spoke by cell from a ski trip in the Cascades.

Photo from Alice Paul Institute -Alice's house in NJ.

Supporters are gathering signatures to put an Equal Rights Amendment against gender discrimination on the Oregon Ballot in November 2014.

The federal government has failed to pass an Equal Rights Amendment, but 22 states have the ERA in their constitutions. Leann Litrell DiLorenzo heads the ERA-Oregon campaign. She says women's equality isn't protected in the state's constitution. It's been up to the courts to preserve it.

Photo by W.S. Bowman, 1916.

Oregon needs to do more to preserve its history-- that's according to people who support a new state Heritage Plan. It would set many of the state's historic preservation priorities for the next five years.

The median annual budget for the many small museums around the state is less than a typical lower income household, and many depend on volunteers to keep their doors open. Kyle Jansson is with the Oregon Heritage Commission. He says more training for caretakers is one aspect of the plan.

City of Eugene

The City of Eugene Budget Committee has come up with six options to cope with a 3 million dollar shortfall anticipated in fiscal year 2015. They're hoping people will join the discussion at a series of public meetings in January.

Laura Illig is Chair of the City of Eugene budget committee. She says they considered a range of options for dealing with the shortfall and were able to narrow down the scenarios to 6.

oregonstateparks.gov

It could soon be illegal to smoke cigarettes outdoors in Oregon's Parks. The state is considering a rule change in the New Year.

Oregon Health Authorigy

In Oregon, low-income adults used to have to get on a waiting list and enroll in a lottery-style drawing to get health insurance. But that's changed because of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Oregon is one of 26 states expanding its Medicaid program, called the Oregon Health Plan. This means up to 300-thousand more people are eligible for coverage. Erin Fair Taylor is with Care-Oregon.

Rachael McDonald

Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner says a Eugene Police officer acted appropriately when he fatally shot a suspect on the campus of Churchill High School last month.

Brett Cole, Oregon News Service

Senator Ron Wyden's long-awaited bill to promote logging on national forests in Eastern Oregon has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The Oregon Democrat's Senate Natural Resource's Committee approved the bill Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Timber industry and conservation groups that had once supported Wyden's efforts to use logging to promote healthier national forests while helping small mills survive are not happy with the latest changes. Tom Partin of the American Forest Resources Council says it puts ecological restoration ahead of economic considerations.

Rachael McDonald

The snow storm and sub-freezing temperatures that hit the South Willamette Valley this month cost the City of Eugene about $125-thousand. Public Works is still cleaning up from the event.

 

Crews were on the job 24 / 7 for 7 days according to Eugene Public Works spokesman Eric Jones. Weather forecasters didn't predict the 8 inches of snow that fell in Eugene Friday December 6th, followed by temperatures that plummeted as low at minus 10. Many streets were covered in ice for a full week. Jones says the costs added up fast.

WA Fish & Wildlife

Oregon crab fishermen are out on their boats bringing in pots brimming with Dungeness crab. The season started at midnight Sunday.

Eugene's Fisherman's Market got its first load of Oregon Dungeness crab Monday afternoon from a boat out of Newport. Owner Ryan Rogers says the crustaceans are plump and tasty. And the shop has been busy.

Public Colleges & Universities

The extended frigid winter weather has been hard on everyone. It's toughest on those who are already living on the edge. Food for Lane County is hoping those who are able can contribute to their food drive this Saturday.

The Letter Carriers Food Drive started last Saturday but was hampered by the heavy snow that fell Friday. Dawn Marie Woodward is with Food for Lane County. She says families who are suffering financially have taken a big hit from the extended cold snap.

Public Colleges & Universities
• Lane Community College - LCC Eugene and Cottage Grove locations are closed. UPDATE Posted: Thu. 12th, 05:46 AM
• University of Oregon - The UO is on its regular operational and final exam schedule. Check alerts.uoregon.edu for more detailed information. UPDATE Posted: Wed. 11th, 04:44 PM

Private Colleges & Universities
• Pioneer Pacific College - Springfield - School closed for Thursday Dec. 12th. UPDATE Posted: Thu. 12th, 06:27 AM

The snow and frigid cold snap couldn't come at a worse time for students at Lane Community College. The Eugene and Cottage Grove campuses have been closed for most of the time since Friday's snowstorm.

This is finals week.  Many students are still waiting to find out when their makeup tests will be. Brian Kelly, Vice President of College Services says the public safety and facilities staff have been on campus during the closure:

Egan Warming Center

  The Egan Warming Center in Eugene / Springfield has been open to homeless people seeking shelter from the frigid cold for the past 8 nights. They're not planning to open Wednesday night because the low is not expected to dip below 30.

More than 300 people volunteer their time to help operate the Egan Warming Centers. Program Director Doug Bales:

Lane County:
Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner has canceled his Community Meeting Scheduled for Wednesday evening at the Cottage Grove Community Center

• Lane Council of Governments - LCOG - Meals on Wheels in Lane County are closed except in Florence. Cafe 60 Dining Rooms in Lane County are closed except in Florence. Posted: Wed. 11th, 07:45 AM

City of Eugene:

Several dozen homeless advocates spoke at Monday's Eugene City Council Meeting urging councilors to allow Whoville residents to remain at their camp near downtown. The camp is made up of about 50 homeless people in tents, who've been at Hilyard and West Broadway for a couple of months. There's fear the camp will be closed once the city opens it's pilot "rest stop" later this month at another location. Laura O'Hannion was among the speakers who asked that Whoville remain open.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The state of Oregon may decide to sell up to 3-thousand acres of the Elliott State Forest. The Land Board meets Tuesday in Salem.

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