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Think Out Loud

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB)

OPB's daily conversation covering news, politics, culture and the arts.

OPB's daily conversation covering news, politics, culture and the arts.


Portland, OR


OPB's daily conversation covering news, politics, culture and the arts.






Pilot Program Trains Dental Therapists

More than 1 million Oregonians live in an area with a shortage of dental care providers. A new program at Pacific University aims to bolster the dental workforce. The first cohort of the university’s dental therapy pilot program started their training on February 1. Dental therapists are mid-level practitioners who can provide dental services at a lower cost than dentists. We talk with Amy Coplen, program director of the School of Dental Hygiene at Pacific University.


Doulas Work To Reduce Maternal Mortality Rates for Black Mothers

Black and indigenous women in the U.S. are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women. But studies have shown that culturally specific doulas can improve outcomes for black mothers. Sacred Roots Doulas at the Black Parent Initiative is the only culturally specific doula program in Portland. We talk with program manager Linda Bryant-Daaka.


Major Changes Coming To Mount Hood Area Search And Rescue

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s office is planning to overhaul its approach to search-and-rescue efforts. As first reported by the Oregonian/OregonLive, Sheriff Craig Roberts says he wants to stop working with outside groups of trained volunteers like Portland Mountain Rescue and instead rely on his own in-house team. The change is likely to take place over the next six to 18 months and threatens the existence of independent groups that have been doing difficult rescues on Mount Hood and...


Oregonians Brace For New Immigration Rule

A controversial rule affecting immigrants seeking green cards will go into effect later this month. The Trump Administration has a new interpretation of an existing policy known as the “public charge rule.” The new interpretation would allow immigration officials to reject applications from people deemed likely to become dependent on public assistance benefits. The rule is facing legal challenges from several states, including Oregon. But a recent Supreme Court ruling allows the new...


Long-Term Consequences Of Flooding In Eastern Oregon

Flooding in northeastern Oregon destroyed homes and displaced residents across Umatilla County. Now that floodwaters have largely receded, the county, along with the city of Pendleton, is starting to pick up the pieces and look ahead to long-term recovery plans. This includes fixing levees, finding housing solutions and helping people whose jobs were impacted. We hear from Pendleton Mayor John Turner about how the recovery is going.


Concordia Students Suing The University After Its Announced Closure

Concordia Students Suing The University After Its Announced Closure Concordia University announced suddenly that it will be closing its doors and that its spring 2020 semester will be its last. For students who had enrolled at Concordia after Marylhurst suddenly closed its doors last year, the financial burden is compounded. We talk with Concordia senior Lauren Harris and her lawyer Michael Fuller, who is filing a class action on behalf of students who enrolled Concordia this spring who...


REBROADCAST: Mitchell Jackson

Mitchell Jackson’s new book, “Survival Math,” is by and about a man trying hard to make sense of where he came from and how that place formed him. Most simply, it’s a memoir about his life growing up in Northeast Portland among pimps and drug dealers, about how he survived, and eventually thrived, becoming a celebrated writer and a professor at NYU. The book is also woven through with history, criminology, sociology and mythology. But it’s much more than just a personal memoir. Mitchell...


REBROADCAST: Talking To Digital Devices

Tech journalist and University of Oregon graduate James Vlahos joined us last spring to discuss his new book “Talk To Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform The Way We Live, Work, And Think.” It’s all about the quest to teach digital devices how to talk and listen — and what that means for the humans that interact with them.


Renewable Energy Status Of Burning Trash

There is currently one place in Oregon that’s burning trash to create energy. Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that could allow trash incineration in Marion County to be considered a form of renewable energy. Opponents say that a waste incineration facility from 1987 should not be eligible for credits intended for new renewable projects, like wind and solar. We talk with Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano and Damon Motz-Storey, the healthy climate program director for Oregon...


No End In Sight For Unity Center’s Financial Problems

Ever since the Unity Center for Behavioral Health opened in Portland in 2017, it’s been plagued with problems. Unity patients have assaulted other patients and staff. Safety concerns escalated to the point that the Center was in danger of losing its ability to receive Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. The Center, which is a collaboration among Legacy, Kaiser, Adventist Health and Oregon Health and Science University, expected to lose several million every year on this kind of specialized...


Colin O’Brady Responds To Investigative Report On His Arctic Journey

Portlander Colin O’Brady has a new book about his much-lauded solo trip across part of Antarctica in 2018. It’s called “The Impossible First.” Earlier this week, we talked with Aaron Teasdale who covered the trip as it was happening for National Geographic Magazine and recently wrote an in-depth followup article digging into the claims O’Brady made before, during and after his Arctic trip. Colin O’Brady joins us to respond to Teasdale’s investigative reporting in National Geographic.


Ezra Klein On 'Why We're Polarized'

History, demographic shifts, social science, and the evolving media landscape are all part of the puzzle political journalist Ezra Klein puts together in his new book "Why We're Polarized." We talk with Klein about how polarization is changing our country. Ezra Klein will be at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing Wednesday, February 12 at 7pm. He’ll be in conversation with Omar El Akkad, author of 'American War.'


Multnomah County Health Department Is Prepared For Coronavirus

When a patient infected with a communicable disease like the Coronavirus gets sick in Oregon, county health officials are on the front lines to respond. Dr. Jennifer Vines, Deputy Health Officer at the Multnomah County Health


Defense Begins Case in Jeremy Christian Trial

The trial of Jeremy Christian continues, and the defense presents its case this week. Christian is charged with stabbing three men, killing two, on a Portland MAX train in May 2017. OPB’s Meerah Powell is covering the trial and joins us for an update.


Hyla Woods Forester on Climate Change Legislation

The family-run timber company Hyla Woods prioritizes the health of its forests over profits. Peter Hayes, the forester for Hyla Woods, wants more timber companies to consider climate change prevention in their policies. Hayes is a supporter of cap and trade legislation, and joins us to discuss his thoughts on the timber industry and climate legislation.


Singer LaRhonda Steele And Activist Karen Trusty Team Up On "Spirit of Freedom"

Portland singer LaRhonda Steele and longtime activist Karen Haberman Trusty have teamed up to tell the story of the civil rights movement in a unique way. They mix songs and spoken word in live performance and on a new album called “Spirit Of Freedom.” But they say the project is more than just history — it’s meant to inform modern movements like Black Lives Matter. Their CD release party will be held Sunday afternoon at the Center for Spiritual Living where Steele serves as the director of...


National Geographic Reporting Reveals Problems With Colin O'Brady's Claims

Professional outdoor adventurer Colin O’Brady has a new book about his much-lauded solo trip across part of Antarctica in 2018. It’s called “The Impossible First.” Adventure and travel writer Aaron Teasdale covered the trip as it was happening for National Geographic Magazine. But now, Teasdale’s latest article in the magazine looks deeper into the claims made by O’Brady in promoting the project and the subsequent book. We talk with Teasdale about his reporting.



Historian David Blight published a new biography of Frederick Douglass in 2018, on the 200th anniversary of his death. We spoke to Blight last spring when he was in town for a symposium at Linfield College.


REBROADCAST - Christopher Marley

Oregonian Christopher Marley is the artist behind OMSI’s “Exquisite Creatures” exhibit, on display until the end of February. We listen back to a conversation with Marley about his unusual approach to animal preservation and how he draws inspiration from the natural world. The conversation was recorded last fall.


Nicholas Kristof And Sheryl WuDunn's New Book "Tightrope"

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof grew up in rural Yamhill County. Years later, he found that about a quarter of the children who rode the school bus with him had later died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide or accidents. We talk with Kristof and his wife Sheryl Wudunn about the lives of poor, rural Americans in their new book, “Tightrope.”