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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.






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.”


Portland Baroque Orchestra Third Largest In Country

After 26 years of leading the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Artistic Director Monica Hugget will step down this year. Hugget has built the period orchestra into the third largest in the country. We talk to Hugget about history and the future of baroque music in Portland.


Portland Winter Light Festival Combines Art And Technology

The Portland Winter Light Festival creates over 100 illuminated art installations each year. It's free to attend. The festival team says its goal is to build community by combining art and technology while invigorating Portland during one of the rainiest months of the year. The 5th annual PWLF will take place February 6-8, 2020. We hear from Alisha Sullivan, the festival's new executive director.


Timber Unity Rallies In Salem

CORRECTION: Contrary to what Dave Miller said on the air, under the proposed cap-and-trade bill, there would be full refunds for new increases of the cost of fuel for off-road agriculture & forestry operations. That would apply to things like actual logging or farming. But logging transport trucks — like the one driven by our guest — wouldn't get those refunds. We regret the error. As Oregon lawmakers gather in Salem for the 2020 legislative session, a group that came together during the...


Portland Police in Compliance with 2014 DOJ Settlement

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that the Portland Police Bureau is in substantial compliance with the 2014 settlement agreement that was meant to reform police use of force against people with mental illnesses. Mayor Ted Wheeler joins us to discuss the reforms the city has implemented and what comes next.


Oregon Historical Quarterly's Special Issue On White Supremacy & Resistance

The Oregon Historical Quarterly has published a special edition called “White Supremacy & Resistance.” The issue evolved as a reaction to the racial violence that resulted in two murders on a Portland MAX light rail line in 2017. Articles explore white supremacy in the formation of Oregon and its state constitution, as well as the history of violence to dominate and control non-white populations, from indigenous peoples and African Americans to east Indian, Chinese and Japanese immigrants....


Lawmakers Take On Homelessness

Cities in Oregon have struggled for years with the growing needs of people experiencing homelessness. Now the Oregon legislature could take up the issue. House Speaker Tina Kotek, a Democrat from Portland, is calling for lawmakers to allocate $100 million to increase shelter capacity and build navigation centers in Eugene and Salem. We get the latest on the legislature's approach to housing and homelessness from OPB political reporter Lauren Dake.