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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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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Faint Radiation In Tuna
4:48 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Minute Traces Of Radioactivity Found In Pacific Tuna

Delvan Neville, a graduate researcher with OSU's Radiation Health Physics program, marks samples of albacore being tested for radioactivity.
OSU Radiation Health Physics program

Researchers with Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say they’ve detected minute amounts of radioactivity from the Fukushima reactor meltdown in albacore tuna caught along the West Coast. It's not considered a health threat at all.

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History Of Washington Tsunamis
6:42 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Coastal Marshes Yield Up History Of Great Northwest Quakes And Tsunamis

PSU archaeologist Sarah Sterling (right) and Simon Fraser University Prof. Ian Hutchison examine possible tsunami deposits near the mouth of Salt Creek, Clallam County, WA.
Photo Credit: Brian Atwater

Researchers have found fresh evidence of 26-foot-high tsunami waves that washed more than three miles in to the Olympic Peninsula.

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First Snow Forecast
4:40 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

First Snow Of The Season Forecast For Mountain Passes

Winter is coming: the National Weather Service is predicting the first snowfall of the season this weekend in the mountain passes around the Northwest.
WSDOT Flickr

The National Weather Service is predicting the first snowfall of the season this weekend in the mountain passes around the Northwest. Cold air arriving behind a frontal system could drop the snow level to around 3,000 feet in Washington and generally between 3,000 and 4,000 feet in the Oregon Cascades through early next week.

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Earthquake Drill
4:54 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Northwest Businesses Join Schools In Biggest Ever Quake Drill

Students at Chinook Middle School in Lacey, Wash., take cover and brace during the Great ShakeOut drill.
Courtney Schrieve

Thursday, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho joined their Western neighbors for an earthquake drill of unprecedented scale. Some of the record participation was due to businesses joining in the drill. In our area, among those practicing were architects, utilities and banks.

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Drier Winter In Northwest
4:45 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Forecast Predicts Drier Than Normal Winter For Northwest

This map from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center forecasts below average precipitation in the Northwest this winter.
National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center

Rain may be in the forecast for much of the region tonight and tomorrow, but the Northwest is in for a drier than normal winter. That's according to an updated long-term forecast released Thursday by the National Weather Service.

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