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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Olympic Trials
7:25 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Good Night For Northwest Olympic Hopefuls At U.S. Track & Field Trials

It was a good night for local Summer Olympics hopefuls Thursday in Eugene. A very good night, in fact. A half dozen athletes with ties to the Northwest earned spots in the London Games. Correspondent Tom Banse reports from the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials.

The capacity crowd at Eugene’s historic Hayward Field saved its biggest roar for last… for the dramatic finish in the men’s 5000 meters.

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Olympic Runners
6:18 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Olympic Qualifying Action Resumes With Portland's Rupp Trying for 'Double'

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for track and field resume Thursday afternoon in Eugene after a two day rest break. Thursday night, more athletes with Northwest ties step to the starting line than on any other day of the event. Correspondent Tom Banse has this preview.

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Olympic Hopefuls
6:09 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Fourth And Fifth Place Good Enough For Some Local Olympic Hopefuls

High jumper Jesse Williams of Eugene qualified for the Summer Olympics despite finishing fourth at the U.S. Team Trials.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

A fourth or fifth place finish tends to bring excruciating disappointment at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Top three qualify for the Summer Olympics, normally. But fourth and fifth place was good enough Monday night for two Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest. Correspondent Tom Banse has the explanation from the track and field team trials in Eugene.

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Olympic Qualifiers
7:04 am
Mon June 25, 2012

More Olympic Qualifying Action On Tap In Eugene Today

The 2012 U.S. Olympic Team qualifying action continues Monday at Hayward Field in Eugene with the possibility of another all-Oregon podium sweep. Three Eugene-based runners are in the final of the men’s 800 meters. Earlier this weekend, three Portland runners swept the men’s 10,000 meters race at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for track and field. Still, the talk of Tracktown remains the world record breaking performance in the decathlon by Oregon native Ashton Eaton. Bryan Clay was the 2008 Olympic decathlon champion, but in these Trials he trailed far behind Eaton.

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Olympic Pole Vaulter
7:00 am
Mon June 25, 2012

World Record Makes Oregon’s Eaton London Olympic Decathlon Favorite

Ashton Eaton set a new personal best in the pole vault on the way to victory.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Oregon native Ashton Eaton installed himself as a gold medal favorite at the 2012 Summer Olympics with a dominating victory at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials this weekend. Eaton set a new world record in the decathlon as he qualified for Team USA. Correspondent Tom Banse reports from the Olympic Trials in Eugene.

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Olympic Pole Vaulter
6:57 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Ex-Collegians And Prepsters From Northwest Win Summer Olympic Berths

Former UW Husky and Renton High School grad Aretha (Hill) Thurmond is headed to her fourth Olympics.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

A dark horse in the sprints. A mother who’s competed at three prior Olympics. And a former NCAA pole vault champion from the University of Oregon. Those are your three newest U.S. Olympians with Northwest ties. Correspondent Tom Banse has their stories from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for track and field in Eugene.

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Olympic Sprinter
6:54 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Oregon Sprinter With Turbulent Past Dashes His Way Onto Team USA

Oregon native Ryan Bailey showed early potential on the track. But few would’ve predicted a trip to the Summer Olympics for this formerly troubled football and track athlete from Salem. Yet that’s the unlikely turnabout Bailey can tell you now that’s he sprinted his way onto Team USA. Correspondent Tom Banse reports from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in track and field in Eugene.

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Olympic Qualifying Trials
5:15 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Olympic Track Trials Could Stock Team USA With Northwest Athletes

Hayward Field in Eugene is the site of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Wolfram Burner Flickr

Qualifying action for the 2012 Summer Olympics is happening in three Northwest cities this week. The U.S. Olympic Trials in diving are underway in Federal Way, Wash. Meanwhile, track and field qualifying starts with a hammer throw competition on the Nike campus in Beaverton, Ore., Thursday. The rest of the track team selection unfolds in Eugene starting on Friday. Team USA is likely to be well-stocked with Northwest athletes.

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Olympic Power Couple
7:06 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Oregon's Olympic Power Couple Loyal To Two Countries

Canadian Brianne Theisen, one member of the couple hoping to compete for Olympic gold for their respective countries.
Erik van Leeuwen Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of Northwest runners, jumpers and throwers will compete for slots on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team starting this weekend. Once again Eugene, Ore., is hosting the U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field. The qualifying action could help determine whether the London Games this summer feature a love story.

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Tsunami Debris Tested
5:18 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Tsunami Debris That Washes Ashore Tested For Radiation

Lynn Albin with Washington's Dept. of Health tests a piece of foam insulation of unknown origin for radiation.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Oregon State Parks managers have two new Geiger counters to scan possible tsunami debris that floats in from Japan. On the Washington coast, state health department scientists are now regularly checking marine debris and fish for possible radiation from last year's Japanese nuclear meltdown. The testing is mostly just to reassure the public, not out of grave concern that radiation will get here.

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