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.

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Northwest Sawmills
5:30 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Housing Rebound Has More Northwest Sawmills Buzzing

A rebound in construction, such as building new homes, is good news for sawmills.
Credit Vixwald / Wikimedia Commons

Sawmills in the Northwest have significantly ramped up production in response to the rebound in construction nationally. That's according to a market survey by an industry consultant based near Seattle.

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Landslide Risk
5:32 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Forecast For High Risk Of Landslides Coming True

File photo of a mudslide along an Amtrak line in Washington state in February 2011.
Credit WSDOT

Oregon's Department of Geology put all of western Oregon on notice for increased potential of landslides Monday. Across the Columbia River, state geologists in Washington reclassified Pacific and Clark counties to "high hazard" for landslides.

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Geothermal Power Plant
5:21 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Northwest's Second Geothermal Power Plant Enters Service

Geothermal energy plant at The Geysers near Santa Rosa, Calif.
Credit Dept. of Energy

The Northwest's second geothermal power plant has entered service. A Boise-based company called U.S. Geothermal built the project at Neal Hot Springs, near the small town of Vale in eastern Oregon.

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Northwest Landslides
4:39 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Heavy Rain Sets Off Landslides Around Region

Flood waters buried E. Main Street and Brown Park in Gaston, Ore., Monday.
Credit Randy Hoodenpyl

Heavy rains and high winds are making it hard to get around parts of western Washington and northwest Oregon this afternoon. Flood watches and warnings are in effect across a wide area of the Northwest. At least half a dozen mudslides have blocked highways and rail lines since this morning.

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Phone Book Delivery
5:23 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Wash. Ready To Hang Up On Mandatory Delivery Of White Pages

Phone books left on the street for recycling.
Credit Lulu Vision / Flickr

Utility regulators are on the verge of ending the automatic delivery of White Pages phone books to Washington households. Legislation to do the same in Oregon hasn't gone anywhere.

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Washington Jobless Rate
4:29 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Wash. Sees Healthy Drop In Unemployment

Washington state saw a nice drop in unemployment during October. New numbers released Thursday show the state jobless rate fell to 8.2 percent. That's down three-tenths of a point from the prior month.

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Washington State Budget
4:46 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Practicality Of 'No New Taxes' Pledge Debated In Olympia

Washington State Rep. Ross Hunter, the chief budget writer for House Democrats.
Credit Northwest News Network

In Olympia, a new revenue outlook shows a shortfall in the next state budget cycle. That is putting renewed attention on promises not to raise taxes.

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Disaster Preparedness For Animals
5:55 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Pet And Animal Sheltering Complicates Emergency Readiness

Credit American Humane Association

If you watched some of last month's coverage of Superstorm Sandy, you probably saw rescues of people who refused to evacuate. Many stayed behind, despite the danger, to be with their pets. Emergency shelters for people usually don't let you bring your house pets or livestock along. The same issue cropped up here during wildfire season last summer. And correspondent Tom Banse reports it could loom over the next flood or earthquake.

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Referendum 74's Passage
4:08 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Concede Referendum Loss

Opponents of Washington's Referendum 74 have conceded the election. Same-sex couples can apply for a marriage license starting December 6.
Credit Chantal Andrea

The campaign against same-sex marriage in Washington conceded defeat on Referendum 74. Its passage upholds the state legislature's law allowing gay marriage in Washington.

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Referendum 74
4:59 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Gay Marriage Opponents In Wash. Not Ready To Concede

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Washington declared victory Tuesday. But opponents of gay marriage are not prepared to concede defeat on the statewide Referendum 74. They point out that there are more than a million ballots yet to be counted.

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