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.


3:58 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Washington Senate Votes To Legalize Hemp Farming As Oregon Starts Writing Permits

File photo of a hemp field outside Southminster, England.
Glyn Baker Creative Commons

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 3:08 pm

The Washington state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to make hemp farming legal. The measure now goes to the state House for further consideration.

Read more
Daylight Savings Time
7:42 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Washington And Oregon Lawmakers Propose Abolishing Daylight Saving Time

On this map, the blue areas observe DST, the red areas never have and the orange areas have in the past, but don't currently.
Credit Paul Eggert / Wikimedia Commons

It's about time... daylight saving time, to be precise. Some Oregon and Washington legislators want to end the yearly practice of springing forward and falling back.

Read more
Revenge Porn
4:58 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

'Revenge Porn' Specifically Outlawed Under Proposed State Laws

File photo
Stephan Röhl

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 11:49 am

Sometimes it's a vengeful ex-lover; sometimes a thief or a hacker is behind it. Either way, explicit, private photos of people keep getting out on the Internet.

Read more
6:56 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Unreliable Snowfall Boosts Ski Resort Interest In Snowmaking

From the base area at White Pass, you can see the acreage covered by snowmaking at right and brown patches where the snow guns can't reach.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 9:44 am

It's been a tough winter so far for many Cascade Mountains ski resorts. Five in Oregon and Washington have suspended operations until they get more snow.

Workers at the Summit at Snoqualmie are even gathering snow from parking lots and building edges and moving it uphill to keep a few runs open.

Nationally, the Pacific Northwest stands out for its low reliance on snowmaking, but that may change.

A ‘lifesaver’ for the resort

Read more
Salmon Reintroduction
7:26 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Tribes To Investigate Feasibility of Salmon Reintroduction Above Grand Coulee

A Chinook salmon.
Credit U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service

It's been seventy five years since salmon and steelhead last swam into the upper reaches of the Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam. Tuesday, a group of inland Northwest tribes released a work plan to investigate fish reintroduction.

Read more
Minimum Wage
5:28 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Oregon, Washington Propose $12 State Minimum Wages

File photo. Activists rally in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage on the steps of the Washington capitol building in Olympia.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 9:00 pm

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

Read more
3:41 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Passengers Unlikely To Benefit From Decline In Airline Fuel Costs

Alaska Airlines announced record profits for the fourth quarter and for calendar year 2014.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 3:09 pm

The steep drop in oil prices is helping to pad the bottom line of Seattle-based Alaska Airlines. But don't expect lower fares on the horizon.

Read more
Job Growth
3:39 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

2014 Good For Job Creation In Washington and Oregon

Employers in Washington state added nearly 83,000 jobs in 2014.
photologue_np Flickr

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 2:55 pm

The Washington and Oregon employment departments have closed the book on 2014 with the release of their December jobs numbers.

Read more
Hope Solo Suspended
6:46 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Star Soccer Goalie Hope Solo Of Seattle Suspended By U.S. National Team

U.S. soccer star Hope Solo.
Credit Nicole Miller / Flickr

Soccer star Hope Solo of Seattle has been suspended from the U.S. Women’s National Team and sent home from training camp.

Read more
3:17 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Respect Thy Neighbors: Privacy Invasion By Hobby Drones Targeted In Olympia

Legislation in Washington state could set privacy rules for hobbyists flying drones such as this DJI Phantom drone, which has a Go Pro camera mounted underneath.
Don McCullough Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 3:32 pm

Sales of small, camera-equipped drones are soaring. Aside from air safety issues, these remotely-piloted aircraft can raise privacy concerns if they fly uninvited over your backyard or past your bedroom windows.

Read more