John Ryan

Associated Press

Oil tankers bring about 15 million gallons of oil every day into Washington state. Starting January 1, those ships are required to have double hulls to reduce the risk of an oil spill. The change has been in the works for decades.

Washington State Patrol

The work of an independent commission in response to the Oso landslide in March said more money is needed to prepare for landslides when they do strike.

The commission has 17 recommendations to improve public safety in a state that is dotted with landslide prone slopes. They ranged from improving emergency response to educating the public about landslides.

The report did not assess blame for the deaths in Oso.

brewbooks / Flickr

Shortly after this year's deadly Oso landslide, investigative reporters revealed that loggers had clear-cut in a no-logging zone directly above the hillside that collapsed.

That logging, back in 2004, removed trees in an area scientists had said could worsen the risk of landslides.

A report out Tuesday from the Department of Natural Resources leaves unanswered the question of why logging took place on what should have been forbidden ground.

brewbooks / Flickr

Washington state essentially prohibits logging on unstable slopes - since removing trees can worsen erosion and landslides. But it's not always obvious which slopes are unstable.

State officials Wednesday adopted a more cautious approach around slopes like the one that collapsed onto the town of Oso in March. That deep-seated landslide killed 43 people.

John Ryan / Northwest News Network

A Republican coalition has a narrow margin of control in the Washington state Senate. Democrats hope to change that. Millions of dollars are pouring into key races around the state. Just who’s trying to buy your vote?

The 45th legislative district cuts an arc through Kirkland, Woodinville and Sammamish on Seattle’s east side. More money has flooded into this district trying to influence who gets elected state senator here, than anywhere else in Washington. More than two million dollars at last count.

KUOW

The Oso landslide devastated one stretch of one valley in Snohomish County. But Washington state is dotted with landslide-prone slopes. An investigation by KUOW and EarthFix has found that many local governments do much less than Snohomish County to keep people from building on dangerous ground. 

John Ryan / KUOW

Homelessness is on the rise in Seattle. In the city’s University District, a new homeless camp has popped up on a busy sidewalk. Members of the camp say 20 people are living in the small cluster of tents.

It’s too small to call a tent city, so I’ll call it a tent-village. It’s on the sidewalk in front of the U District post office. Tent-village resident Stephen Crow is a leader of a group calling itself The Ave Foundation. He says he’s been homeless since he was 12. He’s now 36.

John Ryan / KUOW

No one will face criminal charges in connection with a refinery explosion that killed seven Tesoro workers in Anacortes. The Justice Department is closing its four-year-long criminal investigation. KUOW’s John Ryan reports.

John Ryan / KUOW

It was Washington state’s worst industrial accident in nearly 50 years.

“Skagit 911. What’s your emergency?” “I’m trying to find out what's going on at the refinery.” “You know, we don’t know at this point, sir.” “Well, all I can tell you is I live two and a half miles from it, and the explosion was hard enough to rock my house, and there’s one hell of a fire going there.”

That explosion in 2010 at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes killed seven workers.

Four years later, no one has been held publicly accountable for the seven deaths. As John Ryan reported, state efforts to penalize Tesoro have stalled. To improve worker safety, the federal government is wielding a tool it rarely uses: criminal prosecution of one of the nation’s largest corporations.

Here’s John Ryan with part two of our investigation.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

It's been four years since a deadly explosion at an oil refinery shook the town of Anacortes, Washington. The question of who's responsible for seven workers' deaths still hasn't been answered fully. Refinery owner Tesoro agreed to pay millions to families of the dead, but the company is fighting accusations that it willfully put its workers in harm’s way. With multiple legal proceedings continuing to swirl around the accident, it remains unclear whether anyone will be held accountable for the human cost of Tesoro gasoline. John Ryan brings us part one of this KUOW investigation.

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