Rob Manning

Reporter/Producer, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rob Manning has been both a reporter and an on-air host at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Before that, he filled both roles with local community station KBOO and nationally with Free Speech Radio News. He's also published freelance print stories with Portland's alternative weekly newspaper Willamette Week and Planning Magazine. In 2007, Rob received two awards for investigative reporting from the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and he was part of the award-winning team responsible for OPB's "Hunger Series." His current beats range from education to the environment, sports to land-use planning, politics to housing.

Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington / FLICKR Creative Commons

A federal magistrate judge has sided with environmental groups over stream conditions for threatened fish in Oregon. The dispute involves more than a dozen watersheds, including the Willamette, Rogue and middle Columbia.

Wikimedia User: lecroitg / Wikimedia Commons

Oregon’s scores on the SAT college entrance exam continue to outpace the national average. More Oregon students are taking the SAT college entrance exam, and scores continue to outpace the national average. The context for Tuesday's scores is complicated.

darwin Bell / FLICKR Creative Commons

Oregon has approved new rules for schools aimed at improving health conditions in the state’s aging buildings. The State Board of Education doesn’t have the power to require school districts to test for lead. That’s because it passes rules – not laws. The Board can require districts to provide plans.

Steven Depolo / Flickr

Oregon education and health leaders are pushing for schools to submit drinking water reports by the end of next month.

Rob Manning

  Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith met families at Creston School on Tuesday night because the district’s bungled lead response was worst there. Smith announced a three-part plan to the unfolding water debacle.

She wants to form a community task force on drinking water and hire two sets of outside investigators – one for recent, and one for longer-term lead problems.

But Smith immediately faced tough questions at Tuesday's meeting. School board member Steve Buel objected to her supervising the investigations.

Alberto G. / FLICKR


Public comment opens this week on federal education rules that could affect everything from money for Oregon schools to the role of standardized tests.

Associated Press / AP

President Obama Thursday honored two of the Northwest’s leading scientists at a White House ceremony.

In the early 1990s, voters in Oregon were feeling some tax anxiety.

Property values were rising, and many worried that also meant a rise in property taxes. And so, with something called Measure 5, they capped them.

Since schools depend heavily on property taxes, Oregon did something unique. The state decided to use income tax revenue to help offset the effect of this new property-tax cap.

There's just one problem: In tough economic times, income is more volatile than property values. And so began a roller coaster for Oregon's schools.

Jeff Barnard/AP

Building in flood zones is about to get harder across much of Oregon, due to new federal recommendations.

More than 35,000 public school students in Washington were homeless last school year - according to new figures released Tuesday.

Ben Margot / / Associated Press

California officials delayed opening its recreational crab fishing season Thursday. Scientists have found high levels of a potentially lethal toxin in Dungeness crab in California. A similar delay could come any time for California's commercial crab season.

Steve Burt / / FLICKR

Oregon no longer has the worst graduation rate of any state in the country, according to federal data out Monday. But the grad rate is still among the worst.

Aaron Parecki / / FLICKR

Oregon labor officials consider drivers in transportation networks, like Uber and Lyft, to be "employees" of those companies, not independent contractors.

Andrew Moore / Creative Commons

U.S. Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced a key step Friday in completing a 1,200 mile trail from Glacier National Park to the Pacific Ocean. Hikers already use what's called the "Pacific Northwest Trail," but it has gaps, and isn't fully built out.

Oregon Department of Transportation / Flickr

Northwest forests are extremely dry, but this fire season so far hasn't been as bad as last year. Spokesman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, Tom Knappenberger, says there were 79 large fires at this point a year ago. This season, there have been 65 fires of at least 100 acres.

Benjamin Chun / Flickr

The top education official in Washington State said teachers could face investigation and schools could lose funding - if the number of students refusing standardized tests keeps rising. 

Washington superintendent Randy Dorn doesn't like the phrase "opt-out."

"It's really a refusal to take an assessment that's required by the federal government," Dorn said.

He said low participation rates could cost schools federal money.

albertogp123 / Flickr

Oregon's House Education Committee heard testimony Monday on high-stakes exams. A work group of teachers and administrators has recommended less emphasis on end-of-year state exams and more focus on classroom-level assessments.

One House bill would delay using the new "Smarter Balanced" exam results to judge schools and teachers. Another would make it easier to opt out of the tests. Portland parent and teacher Elizabeth Thiel argued that bill should go further - and prohibit sanctions against schools like hers, where students are opting out.

Rick Obst / Flickr

A University of Oregon task force on sexual violence proposed 23 recommendations at a university senate meeting Wednesday.

The task force report is called "Twenty Students Per Week." That refers to about how often undergraduate women at U of O experience unwanted sexual contact. The same survey with those numbers also found most student-victims don't report being sexually assaulted.

"The University of Oregon can become a leader in addressing this problem," Carol Stabile said.

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have agreed to a contract with grain handling companies at Northwest ports. The vote concludes two years of bargaining, and lockouts at the ports of Vancouver and Portland, last more than a year.

Rob Manning / EarthFix

It's three weeks until school starts in Oregon. It can't come too soon for parents who are struggling to keep their kids fed, supervised, and learning, over the summer.

OPB has been following a cohort of Oregon kids in the Class of 2025. They'll be in second grade soon. Rob Manning will visit with a few of those kids - as part of a broader look at what summer means for students in Oregon.

Amy Ross / Flickr

Russian president Vladimir Putin's ban on food imports from the US could cost Northwest growers millions of dollars. But Russian imports are a thin slice of our region's multi-billion-dollar farm economy, as Rob Manning reports, from Oregon Public Broadcasting.

biologycorner / Flickr

This summer in Oregon, education leaders brought together teaching professors and school officials to improve teacher training. The June institute followed a national report, critical of training programs. And new teachers will soon be asked to pass a new standardized test. Think of it as a Common Core for teachers in training. Rob Manning has more.

Michael Clapp / OPB

It's summer vacation for students - and teachers - across the country. Administrators often use the summer to take a bigger look at how schools are doing, and that can mean a critical look at teachers. Oregon Public Broadcasting's Rob Manning looks at evaluations for current teachers - and the role of student test scores in those evaluations.



President Obama often talks about making sure American students graduate high school ready for college. But one program in Oregon is reaching out to the shop class crowd of students who would rather learn a paying trade right away than stay in a classroom. Manufacturers there are using a new internship program to recruit and train teenagers straight out of high school to be machinists, welders and painters. Oregon Public Broadcasting's Rob Manning reports.

bluebike / Flickr

Oregon's first utility-scale facility to turn commercial food waste to electricity is up and running in Junction City.

The latest state budget plans released Monday in Salem are drawing mixed reviews from the education community.

Oregon Public Broadcasting

An Oregonian is among the three Americans who died after militants took over a natural gas plant in Algeria, according to federal officials.

Hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in utility savings are the big benefits of a new power agreement announced Friday in Northwest Washington.

U.S. Department of Education website

Oregon learned Thursday it’s getting more than $20 million from the federal government to improve preschool education.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The Bonneville Power Administration’s long-serving chief is stepping down. Steve Wright was the acting BPA administrator in 2000, when the western U.S. was struggling with an energy crisis. He served as permanent head for a decade and now says he’s retiring in January.