Northwest News

Northwest Public Radio is a participant and contributor in the Northwest News Network (N3), a collaboration of public radio stations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Our reporters bring a regional perspective to coverage of Northwest states' government, environment, economy, and other news of widespread interest to residents of the Northwest. Regional news on Northwest Public Radio is a part of Morning Edition every weekday morning, and All Things Considered in the afternoons.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Alaska’s largest statewide native organization honored the Yakama Nation during their annual convention Thursday. The Yakama Nation loaned the Alaska Federation of Natives $225,000 to establish itself 50 years ago.

A trio of wealthy Washingtonians has just put $350,000 into an effort to defeat a sitting state Supreme Court justice. Their target is Charlie Wiggins who’s been on the court since 2011.

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said he remains confident that a proposed takeover of rival Virgin America will happen. But he acknowledged to Wall Street analysts Thursday that he had been hoping the $2.6 billion deal would have closed “a couple of weeks ago.”

Washington’s race for governor is a lopsided affair. Incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee has a three-to-one fundraising advantage over Republican challenger Bill Bryant. And polls show Inslee with a 10 point lead.

But that’s not stopping Bryant from trying to make the campaign a referendum on Inslee’s leadership.

AP Images

People dressed as clowns have been scaring people on streets and forests across the country since August. Earlier this month, there were even sightings in western Washington and Oregon.


KING 5 reports clowns were seen in Tacoma, Spanaway, Graham and South Hill. KUOW described one covered in blood walking around Green Lake in Seattle. Seattle Schools issued a warning to parents.

Brittney Tatchell / Smithsonian Institution

Kennewick Man is almost home. After 20 years of legal battles, scientific controversy and legislative wrangling, the ancient skeleton will be reburied on Northwest tribal lands. Here are four things you should know about one of the Northwest’s native ancestors.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger Bill Bryant sparred in their last scheduled debate in Pasco Wednesday night over Inslee's record at Hanford and their stances on environmental regulations.

Associated Press / AP Images

Eight people received non-life threatening injuries Wednesday morning in a gas explosion in Northwest Portland. The explosion caused a 4-alarm fire that destroyed one building and damaged several others in the surrounding blocks.

Washington state employers added 20,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis last month according to the latest numbers out Wednesday from the state’s Employment Security Department.

Malheur Occupation Trial Goes To Jury

Oct 19, 2016

Closing arguments are finished in the trial of seven people charged in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year. The case now heads to the 12-person jury for deliberation.

Attorney Matt Schindler, hybrid counsel for defendant Ken Medenbach, delivered a thunderous argument to the jury in defense not just of his client, but of the occupation as a whole.

“How did any of these people benefit from protesting the death of rural America?” Schindler said.

WSU Young Republicans Build Symbolic Trump Wall

Oct 19, 2016

A dozen or so students at Washington State University gathered in the center of the Pullman campus to show support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Their symbolic wall on Glenn Terrell Mall sported Trump's name in painted gold letters. They were countered by more than 200 protestors. 



Gun rights and gun control advocates are reacting to the first prosecution under Washington’s Initiative 594, the 2014 law that requires a background check for person-to-person gun sales.

A hacked email from the Hillary Clinton campaign reveals some interesting names considered early on as possible Democratic vice presidential picks. The names released by Wikileaks Tuesday included Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Microsoft's Bill Gates and Melinda Gates.

Prosecution Delivers Closing Argument In Malheur Case

Oct 18, 2016
Associated Press / AP Images

Closing arguments have started in the Malheur occupation trial. Government prosecutor Ethan Knight started off Tuesday, telling the jury that “This is a case at its core about the rule of law.”

New Federal Action Plan For Puget Sound Restoration

Oct 18, 2016
Associated Press / AP Images

Puget Sound is a national treasure and deserves protections on par with Cheaspeake Bay and the Great Lakes. That was the message as officials announced a new memorandum of understanding that will direct restoration activities from the federal level. 

Gun rights and gun control advocates are reacting to the first prosecution under Washington’s Initiative 594, the 2014 law that requires a background check for person-to-person gun sales.

The case involves a former Oak Harbor, Washington, resident named Mark Mercado who allegedly gave or sold a .22-caliber pistol to an acquaintance last November. Prosecutors said that gun was then used a day later in the murder of 17-year-old John Skyler Johnson, known as “Jay.”

Marijuana retailers began collecting a 25 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales starting in January. That money is adding up quickly.

A degree program in craft brewing is in its second year at Central Washington University and beer school graduates are in high demand in a market that’s growing rapidly.

In what’s believed to be the first prosecution under a 2014 voter-approved background check law, a former Oak Harbor, Washington, resident has been charged with illegally transferring a .22-caliber pistol that was later used in a homicide.

Former Washington GOP Chair Debates Longtime Senator

Oct 17, 2016

Democratic senior U.S. Senator for Washington state Patty Murray faced her Republican challenger Chris Vance in a debate Sunday night at Gonzaga University.

Voters in Oregon and Washington can expect to see ballots arriving in their mailboxes starting later this week. And this year, more of those ballots than ever will go out in the mail.

The practice of automatically charging 16 and 17-year-olds as adults for serious crimes is coming under scrutiny. The issue will come up Monday at a youth justice conference in Seattle and Tuesday during a Washington Supreme Court hearing.

Final Malheur Occupier Nearly Left Before FBI Moved In

Oct 14, 2016
Associated Press / AP Images

The final occupier of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge took the stand Friday in his own defense. Occupier David Fry held an hours long standoff with federal agents in February before surrendering. Fry nearly avoided the final standoff entirely by leaving the eastern Oregon refuge early.

Associated Press / AP Images

Fans of Democrat Hillary Clinton braved pelting rain Friday to hear her speak in Seattle. They paid at least $250 each to get in but that didn't dampen their spirits either.

Tornado Hits Manzanita, Ore. In Early Morning

Oct 14, 2016
Allison Johnson / Northwest News Network

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A tornado hit the coastal town of Manzanita Friday morning. Clean-up has begun ahead of a second predicted wave of gusts and rain during the weekend. Witnesses say the tornado knocked down power lines and trees. No injuries have been reported yet.

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Spokane-based Avista Utilities and Seattle City Light --perhaps soon to be joined by Oregon's two biggest electric utilities: Portland General Electric & Pacific Power -- are diving into a new line of business: charging up electric cars.

They have plans to buy and maintain significant numbers of electric car charging stations. These will be installed at homes, private workplaces and public locations.

Associated Press / AP Images

Wind and heavy rain could make this weekend tough for Northwest residents. The storm could be rough for the Puget Sound's underwater residents as well. Big storms mean big water pollution.

A second, more significant storm is expected to hit Saturday night. Here’s what you can do to be ready:


Be prepared for wind. Get loose branches, furniture, toys, and so forth off your lawn and porch. If something can’t be moved, make sure it’s secured to the ground. You don’t want anything out there that could be flung through your windows.

Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington / FLICKR Creative Commons

A federal magistrate judge has sided with environmental groups over stream conditions for threatened fish in Oregon. The dispute involves more than a dozen watersheds, including the Willamette, Rogue and middle Columbia.

A police officer who was bitten in the genitals by a police dog is not entitled to sue for damages without first proving negligence. That was the decision Thursday from a narrowly divided Washington Supreme Court.