Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out-of-the-way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Before taking his current beat, Tom covered state government and the Washington Legislature for 12 years.  He got his start in radio at WCAL-FM, a public station in southern Minnesota. Reared in Seattle, Tom graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in American Studies.

When not sifting through press releases, listening to lobbyists, or driving lonely highways, Tom enjoys exploring the Olympic Peninsula backcountry and cooking dinner with his wife and friends. Tom's secret ambition is to take six months off work and travel to a faraway place beyond the reach of email.


Pacific Crest Trail
5:35 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Adventurers Attempt Winter Thru-Hike Of Pacific Crest Trail

Looking across to Mount Jefferson in Oregon.
Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 5:38 pm

A pair of experienced long distance hikers are more than halfway through a full traverse of the Pacific Crest Trail - in the dead of winter.

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4:07 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Idaho Startup Wins FAA Approval For Drones In Farming

ADAVSO plans to fly the battery-powered eBee Ag drone, manufactured by senseFly Ltd of Switzerland.
senseFly Ltd.

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 3:34 pm

Advanced Aviation Solutions , an Idaho-based startup, has become the first company to win federal approval to use drones in farm settings.

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Disasters And Accident
6:11 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Roads Reopen, Flood Cleanup Underway In Western Washington

Flood waters undermined the Moclips Highway
Fawn Sharp Quinault Indian Nation

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 5:33 pm

Grays Harbor County commissioners approved an emergency declaration for their coastal county Tuesday in the wake of flooding and landslides.

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6:25 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Judge Gives Okay For Snake River Dredging To Proceed

Dredging may begin on the lower Snake River.
Credit Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Tow boat captains, wheat exporters, and the directors of the farthest inland ports in the Northwest are breathing easier today. A federal judge Monday rejected an environmental and tribal challenge to dredging of the lower Snake River.

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Hybrid Plant
7:02 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Grafted Tomato-Potato Plant Yields 'Ketchup 'n' Fries'

Hand-grafted TomTato plant produces cherry tomatoes on top and white potatoes below.
Credit Thompson and Morgan

A Western Oregon mail order company has begun selling what might become the No. 1 conversation starter of Northwest garden parties this summer.

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Soccer Star Trial
6:38 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Judge Mulls Whether To Dismiss Charges Against Soccer Star Hope Solo

U.S. soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo faces a judge in Kirkland, Washington, with her attorney Todd Maybrown, center, on Dec. 30, 2014. Lacey Offutt, left, represented the prosecutor's office.

A municipal court judge in Kirkland, Washington, is mulling whether to dismiss domestic violence charges against U.S. soccer star Hope Solo.

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Park Fees
5:09 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

National Park Service Receives 'Lively' Comments Over Proposed Fee Hikes

A view of Mount Rainier and White River
Steve Cyr - cruiznbye Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 4:40 pm

  The National Park Service wants to increase entrance fees to pay for park improvements.

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Environmental DNA
6:43 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Science Fiction Becomes Reality For Species Surveys

Postdoc researcher Jimmy O'Donnell at the UW lab bench where he processes eDNA samples.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Imagine how cool it would be to detect rare or invasive species, study biodiversity or to estimate fish abundance with just a scoop of air or a dip of water. It'd be like science fiction come true. Well, science fiction is indeed becoming reality through a new sampling technology called environmental DNA.

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Electric Cars
6:02 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Oregon, Washington Seek To Juice Electric Car Sales With More Incentives

File photo of a Nissan Leaf recharging in Tumwater, Washington.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:03 pm

A coalition in Oregon and the Democratic governor of Washington want to juice sales of electric cars by providing more state incentives.

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4:08 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Washington Unemployment Rate Ticks Up Slightly Amidst Steady Hiring

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 3:51 pm

Washington and Oregon's latest unemployment numbers offer a paradox.

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