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

Washington Murder Review
4:42 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Powell Murder Review Urges More Communication and Vigilance

A Pierce County Sheriff's deputy stands guard outside the house where Josh Powell killed himself and his two young sons in February.
Asuza Uchikura

A new report on a high profile Pierce County, Wash., murder-suicide concludes that cops and social workers should communicate better. Washington state's social service agency says the child fatality review, released Thursday, supports its belief that no one could have anticipated Josh Powell would kill his two young sons and himself.

Read more
Northwest Renewable Energy
5:00 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Northwest Utilities Exceed Green Power Minimum

Northwest utilities mostly bought wind power to achieve compliance with green energy requirements.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Electric utilities in the Northwest have overachieved in meeting requirements to add renewable energy to their portfolios. That's according to fresh regulatory filings.

Read more
Northwest Indian Canoe Journey
4:54 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Flotilla Landing Ends 2012 Tribal Canoe Journey On Sunday

An audience of thousands is expected at the port of Olympia this Sunday to witness the conclusion of the annual Northwest Indian canoe journey.

Read more
Recovery For Tsunami Victims
5:41 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Schoolchildren From Japan's Tsunami Zone Get Respite In Northwest

Rebuilding has gone slowly in tsunami-ravaged Minamisanriku, Japan.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Eight junior high students and their teachers from the Japanese tsunami zone arrive in Seattle Thursday. It's an unusual disaster relief effort. The schoolchildren are being treated to a free trip to escape the still difficult conditions at home, at least temporarily.

Read more
High Jump's Northwest Roots
5:27 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

High Jump's 'Fosbury Flop' Has Roots In Northwest

A high-jumper demonstrates Dick Fosbury's eponymous technique, the 'Fosbury Flop.'
Patricio Lorente Wikimedia

A second-time Olympian from Beaverton, Ore., will be the flag bearer for Team USA during Friday's Opening Ceremony at the London Games. U.S. team captains chose fencer Mariel Zagunis for the honor.

Meanwhile, one of the fans cheering the athletes on will be another Northwesterner who revolutionized the high jump.

Read more
Caffeinated Coastal Waters
4:37 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Study: Coastal Oregon Waters Slightly Caffeinated

Is Portland's love of coffee leading to the caffeination of Oregon coastal waters?
Diane Gilleland Flickr

The Northwest is known for its love of coffee. Now evidence of that is showing up in the Pacific Ocean. Researchers have found low levels of caffeine at half a dozen locations on the Oregon Coast.

Read more
Earthquake Risk
6:07 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Tolerable Risk Vs. Terrible Catastrophe When It Comes To Dams And The Big One

It's a question all of us face sooner or later: whether to spend a good chunk of money to protect against a catastrophe that has a very low chance of occurring. A workshop that just wrapped up in Corvallis considered that dilemma in the context of Northwest dams and a magnitude 9 earthquake. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Read more
Sudanese Olympic Runner
6:31 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Northwest Runner Wants To Leverage Olympic Platform To Help South Sudan

Lopez Lomong (second from right) racing at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Athletes going to the London Olympics commonly have stories of overcoming adversity. But few can top African-born distance runner Lopez Lomong. The one time "Lost Boy" of Sudan relocated to the Portland area last year. He's running for Team USA, but hopes to leverage Olympic success into greater aid and attention for his former homeland. Correspondent Tom Banse introduces us.

Read more
Japanese Earthquakes
5:57 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Northwest States Mapping Liquefaction Susceptibility

Soil liquefaction and lateral spreading in Tumwater, WA after the 2001 Nisqually Quake.
Photo courtesy UW College of Engineering

Two major earthquakes last year raised red flags for the Northwest. Some of the damage from those quakes in Japan and New Zealand resulted from a phenomenon called liquefaction. This is when the ground turns to jello or quicksand. Transmission towers topple, buildings sink and utility pipes break. Now, geologists in the Northwest have mapped the spots most likely to liquefy here in an earthquake. Correspondent Tom Banse begins our story in Japan.

Read more
Early Human DNA Found
4:47 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

South-Central Oregon Caves Yield Early Human DNA

Archaeologist Dennis Jenkins holds dried feces taken from Oregon's Paisley Caves.
Jim Barlow Univ. of Oregon

An archeological dig at a group of remote caves in south-central Oregon may force some rethinking about how the first humans colonized North America. Scientists found the critical evidence in a form you might not expect.

Read more

Pages