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 Orca Mystery
6:46 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Whodunit Surrounds Bruised & Bloody Killer Whale Carcass

Orcas, or "killer whales," are among the most well-known whale species.
Photo by Wikimedia User Pittman Wikimedia Commons

LONG BEACH, Wash. -- The bruised and bloody carcass of an endangered killer whale washed ashore at Long Beach, Washington this weekend. An initial necropsy did not pinpoint a cause of death. Correspondent Tom Banse has more on an emerging whodunit.

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Quileute Tribe Move
6:47 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Congress OKs Quileute Tribe's Move To Higher Ground

A coastal Quileute village.
Photo credit Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. -  The US Congress has cleared the way for a tiny Washington tribe to move parts of its coastal village uphill and out of a tsunami zone. The move involves the transfer of 785 acres of Olympic National Park to the Quileute Indian Tribe. The park surrounds the tribe's tiny reservation and blocks its desire to expand to higher ground.

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Washington Orca Search
6:24 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Researchers On Hunt For Killer Whales' Winter Hideout

NOAA researchers hope to discover where orcas off the coast of Washington go in the winter.
Photo by Richard Dudley Flickr

This week, federal biologists will cast off on a research cruise from NOAA's new home port in Newport, Oregon. They hope to crack an enduring mystery about some of the most studied killer whales on earth. Namely, where do the Northwest's resident orca whales go in the winter? Correspondent Tom Banse has more.

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Mount Rainier Name Change
6:45 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Tribal Alliance Seeks To Restore Native Name For Mount Rainier

Puyallup tribe members want to change the name of Mount Rainier back to its native name, Ti'Swaq'
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

ROY, Wash. - Mount Rainier was once known by its many native names. Now, an alliance of tribal members is moving forward with a proposal to restore an original name to this Northwest landmark. But a long bureaucratic process lies ahead, as correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Northwest Regional News
5:11 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

U.S. House Agrees to Provide Quileute Tribe Safer Home

La Push, Washington is home to the Quileute Tribe
Photo Credit: Quileute Tribe Photo Source: Northwest News Network

A small Washington tribe has cleared a big hurdle towards moving its coastal village out of a tsunami zone. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Washington Refinery Strike
6:33 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Tentative Labor Deal Averts Western Wash. Refinery Strikes

ConocoPhillips oil refinery at Cherry Point, Washington.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

FERNDALE, Wash. -- The United Steelworkers Union has reached a tentative deal with oil companies to avert a possible strike at dozens of refineries, including three important ones in the Northwest. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Northwest Regional News
3:52 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Western Wash. Oil Refineries Face Possible Strike

Sign making at a United Steelworkers local in Ferndale, WA.
Courtesy of USW Local 12590 Northwest News Network

Bargaining is going down to the wire on new labor contracts at three of the five big oil refineries in the Northwest. Union members have been told to prepare to strike as early as Wednesday. Correspondent Tom Banse has more details.

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Washington Credit Rating
6:44 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Two Ratings Agencies Lower Wash. Credit Outlook

Standard and Poor's recently downgraded Washington State's credit outlook.
Beyond My Ken Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Two credit rating agencies have delivered a warning to the State of Washington to get its financial house in order. The ratings agencies lowered the outlook for Washington state debt, citing the magnitude of the budget shortfall. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Washington state is refinancing or selling more than $1 billion in bonds in the coming weeks. That's the reason Standard & Poor's (S&P), Moody's Investors Service, and Fitch Ratings revisited the state's credit rating.

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Women in American Roots
6:15 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Increasing Visibility of Female American Roots Musicians

American roots vocalist and guitarist Lauren Sheehan
Tom Banse N3

PORTLAND - Quick, think of any famous female musicians in the American roots genre. Sure, today there's Allison Krauss and Gillian Welch. But for the most part, history remembers a lot of men in old-time country, blues and folk music... names like Lead Belly, Muddy Waters or Doc Watson.

Not a lot of women in American roots music are getting their due. That's according to a folklorist from near Seattle. She and her husband have made it their mission to change that. The Library of Congress has taken notice. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Natural Gas
6:09 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Wind Farm Developer Announces Layoffs

PORTLAND, Ore. - Iberdrola Renewables, one of the Northwest's biggest wind and solar power companies, let go about 50 workers out of a nationwide staff of more than 900. The cuts affect 25 workers based at its North American headquarters in Portland. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Energy company Iberdrola Renewables cited multiple factors for a decision to scale back on new projects. That led directly to layoffs in engineering, construction and development.

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