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.


Washington Unemployment
7:38 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Washington Unemployment Rate Flat, Now Lags National Rate

Washington Employment Security Department

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 4:21 pm

According to the monthly update released Wednesday by Washington's Employment Security Department, the state’s unemployment rate stayed flat in February.

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Bicycle Laws
7:49 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Lawmakers Ponder Whether To Green Light Red Light Running By Cyclists

Credit Cian Ginty / Flickr


Lawmakers in Oregon and Washington are pondering whether to give bicycles and mopeds permission to run red lights under certain circumstances. Idaho did so nearly a decade ago in cases when lightweight two-wheelers fail to trigger the sensor to change a light to green.

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Refinery Workers Settlement
7:41 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Tentative Refinery Strike Settlement Should Help With Gas Prices

A tentative contract settlement should end a six-week strike at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 4:25 pm

The United Steelworkers union and major oil refiners have reached a tentative contract settlement.

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Weather and Climate
4:27 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Unseasonable Warmth Waking Black Bears Up Early

Unseasonably mild winter is bringing black bears out of hibernation earlier than usual.

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 5:35 pm

The daffodils and tulips are up and so are hungry black bears. Our unseasonably mild winter is bringing black bears out of hibernation earlier than usual.

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Childhood Vaccinations
5:31 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Oregon, Washington Lawmakers Balk At Tougher Vaccination Mandate

NIAID Flickr

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 5:36 pm

Oregon and Washington lawmakers flinched within hours of each other Wednesday when it came to toughening mandatory vaccination requirements for schoolchildren.

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911 Calls
5:52 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Nearly One In Three 911 Calls Are Accidental

File photo of call takers at work at the Willamette Valley 911 Center.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 5:59 pm

A new statistic from Washington state illustrates a problem 911 dispatch centers throughout the Northwest grapple with. About a third of 911 calls in Washington state are mistaken.

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Pacific Crest Trail
4:46 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Adventurers Complete First-Ever Winter Thru-Hike Of Pacific Crest Trail

Shawn Forry (left) and Justin Lichter arrived at the southern end of the Pacific Crest Trail on Sunday. The rain reminded them of the trek's first day at the Canadian border last October.
Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 9:32 am

Two experienced hikers arrived safe and sound at the Mexican border Sunday, four-and-a-half months after beginning their trek in the North Cascades.

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Pet Rescue
4:50 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Washington Animal Cruelty Law Could Be Enhanced To Cover Pets in Hot Cars

File photo. Police and animal control officers in Washington may soon get explicit license to break into cars to rescue animals in distress.
Lynn Friedman Flickr

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 4:39 pm

When temperatures rise this spring, you're bound to hear the occasional sad tale of a dog locked in a hot car in the sun.

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5:32 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Immigrant Deportation Debate Spills Over To State Capitol

A bill in the Washington House would direct local police and jails to stop coordinating with federal agencies on immigrant deportations.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 5:33 pm

The congressional wrangling over immigration policy -- which threatens to cut off Homeland Security money later this week -- is spilling over to the Washington State Capitol in a fashion.

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Western Flyer
4:16 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Steinbeck Vessel To Be Refloated By New Owner And Northwest Shipwrights

The Western Flyer currently rests in dry storage at the Port of Port Townsend as seen in this 2013 photo.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 9:04 pm

New ownership is giving new hope to a decrepit, unseaworthy fishing boat with a notable literary pedigree.

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