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," "Weekday," 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. During the early 1990s, he worked in the Seattle bureau of United Press International. 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. In 1996, he spent two months reporting from Bonn and Berlin, Germany on an Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. In 1999, he traversed the globe to cover the Pacific Rim (Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan) on a Jefferson Fellowship.

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 where there are no radios.

Pages

Grain Terminal Dispute
6:33 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Grain Terminal Dispute Temporarily Shuts Down Vancouver, Wash. Port Docks

Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:03 pm

A union lock out at a big grain export terminal brought all ship loading and unloading to a halt at the Port of Vancouver, Washington Wednesday. It's one of several developments in a long-running labor dispute involving longshore workers and grain handlers.

Read more
Labor Dispute
4:00 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

One Grain Exporter Reaches Labor Deal; Picket Lines At Another

Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:05 pm

There are several new developments Wednesday in a long-running labor dispute between unionized longshoremen and Northwest grain terminal operators. One grain exporter announced it reached a contract agreement, while another locked out its union workers after discovering what it called sabotage.

Picket lines sprung up almost immediately in front of the United Grain terminal at the Port of Vancouver, Washington. This, after the terminal operator notified the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 4 of a lock out.

Read more
University Research Funding
5:07 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Universities Say Research Funding Cuts May Bring Job Cuts

Jimmy Emerson Flickr

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 4:59 pm

The Northwest's public universities pull in massive amounts of federal research dollars. It totaled $1 billion last year at the University of Washington. Oregon State University won close to $200 million in federal research funds. The University of Idaho is counting on $100 million this year. So it's no surprise that university administrators are hanging on every scrap of news about imminent automatic federal budget cuts.

Read more
Self-Driving Cars
7:33 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Self-Driving Cars Can't Be Driverless Under Proposed State Laws

Google

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 8:34 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - What if you could just start your car, tell it where you want to go and then sit back and relax until you get there? Well, Google and many automobile manufacturers are hard at work on self-driving "robocars." Now lawmakers in Salem and Olympia are trying to figure out how to update the rules-of-the-road to keep pace with the cars of the future. But automakers are flashing a stop sign, saying it's too soon for new regulation.

Read more
Tsunami Design Code
4:58 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Structural Engineers Developing Tsunami Design Code For Coastal Buildings

Ecola Architects, PC

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 4:32 pm

SEATTLE - Building codes cover fire prevention, energy efficiency, and seismic safety among other things. Now a group of civil engineers from around the West is developing additions to the code to cover the threat of a tsunami.

Kent Yu of Degenkolb Engineers in Portland is one of the members of an American Society of Civil Engineers subcommittee drafting standards for "tsunami loads and effects."

"I think it is going to help make our communities more resilient."

Read more
Paralympics
4:53 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Sun Valley Becomes Hub For Healing Vets Through Sports

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 5:34 pm

KETCHUM, Idaho - A ceremony in Sochi, Russia a few days ago started the one year countdown to the 2014 Winter Games. Here in the Northwest, the Sun Valley, Idaho ski team has set a goal to get at least six of its skiers or snowboarders on Team USA in Sochi.

The Paralympic Games for physically disabled athletes follow right after the Olympics. That U.S. team will also likely have lots of Northwest ties. Sun Valley is developing a reputation for uncovering exceptional paraplegic and amputee athletes through programs geared toward injured veterans.

Read more
Paralympics
3:56 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

From Soldier To Double-Amputee To Pro Athlete

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 3:39 pm

KETCHUM, Idaho - A winter's worth of racing and training for the best disabled skiers and shooters culminates later this month at the Paralympic Nordic World Championships in Sweden. For the first time, the U.S. team headed to the competition is made up entirely of disabled veterans. It's a good example of how some wounded soldiers are finding a new mission and purpose.

Sun Valley, Idaho has become a hub for healing veterans through sports and one ex-soldier went from infantryman to badly wounded warrior to pro athlete.

Read more
Tamarack Resort
5:26 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Western Idaho Resort Muddles Through Extended Limbo

Tamarack's unfinished Village Plaza is southwest of Donnelly, Idaho.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

The real estate crash triggered some big bankruptcies in the Northwest, but few are as spectacular and convoluted as the foreclosure of the unfinished Tamarack Resort in western Idaho. What was supposed to be the Northwest's newest destination resort remains in extended legal limbo, but plucky homeowners are keeping it alive until a new buyer arrives.

Read more
Truffle Dogs
6:36 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Local Dogs Earn Their Keep Sniffing Out Truffles

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 7:36 am

TURNER, Ore. - When a dog finds its first truffle -- the fungus, not the chocolate candy -- the sound you hear will most likely be the voice of a very excited dog handler.

And you might be as excited as Mia MacCollin of Bend if your pet showed an aptitude to find buried treasure. And treasure it is. The native Oregon white truffle can fetch several hundred dollars per pound at retail.

Read more
Women In Combat
5:37 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

JBLM Soldiers Don't Expect 'Rush' Of Females To Combat Roles

Two themes emerged from a roundtable of mostly female soldiers at the U.S. Army's biggest West Coast post. Joint Base Lewis-McChord organized the panel Thursday to speak on the Pentagon's decision to allow women into combat roles.

Read more

Pages