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.

Rob Manning / OPB

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality expects to lose more than 30 people in the agency’s core programs protecting air and water quality because of President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency budget, according to an internal DEQ memo.

U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown, who oversaw two jury trials linked to the case, ruled directly on the misdemeanors. In her 40-page ruling, she wrote each of the defendants “actively participated in the armed occupation of the MNWR.”

Idaho Governor Butch Otter Tuesday declared seven north Idaho counties as disaster areas, thanks to flooding caused by heavy snowmelt and rain.

Washington Senate Republicans have proposed a $5 billion increase in state spending over the next two years, including $1.8 billion more for public schools in an attempt to satisfy a Supreme Court ruling that found the state is not adequately funding K-12 education.

Flickr User: Wildcat Dunny / FLICKR Creative Commons

Kite flyers, picnickers, and Ultimate players treasure Seattle’s Gas Works Park--but beneath its sparkling grass lies a toxic legacy of its industrial past. Puget Sound Energy is now working with public officials to clean up the mess.

How do you dispose of an old totem pole? Fortunately, this is not a problem we regularly face. But a tall totem gifted by Seattle to its sister city in Japan renewed this question.

Spokane's Episcopal Diocese Ordains First Female Bishop

Mar 20, 2017
Doug Nadvornick / SPR

Spokane’s Episcopal Diocese installed its first female bishop during a ceremony on Saturday. In the majestic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, some of the highest-ranking leaders of the American Episcopal Church joined Gretchen Rehberg for one of the most important days of her life.

Portland Partners With Colleges To Create School Of Public Health

Mar 20, 2017

The city of Portland wants to partner with the area’s three largest public colleges to build a new $100 million education and health center downtown.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced the partnership with Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland State University and Portland Community College Monday morning.

In exchange for an estimated $15 million dollar investment in the project, Wheeler said the city would own two floors of office space in the building, in an effort to address a shortage of space for city workers.

Over the weekend a large diesel spill developed on the Columbia River near downtown Wenatchee, Washington. So far state officials haven’t been able to locate the source of the spill.

The Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas project is still alive, despite being denied by federal regulators last year. Canadian energy company Veresen has resubmitted its plans and are holding a new round of required public meetings this week.

Backers of the export terminal propose to build a pipeline to bring natural gas from the inland West to the Port of Coos Bay on the South Oregon Coast. There, it will be liquefied and exported to markets in Asia.

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

The state of the salmon population in Idaho’s Snake River was the topic of a passionate discussion during a conference hosted by members of Idaho’s Nez Perce Indian tribe over the weekend.

Courtesy of Tesoro

 

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Port of Vancouver regarding a controversial proposed oil terminal.

Members of Idaho’s Nez Perce tribe are concerned about their treaty rights under a new president. That was the topic of the day at a conference that opened Friday in Lewiston, Idaho.

President Donald Trump has made it clear climate change is not a priority for his administration, but it is still a top issue for Democratic governors and lawmakers in Washington and Oregon.

In Oregon, there’s talk of a cap-and-trade system. And in Washington, the idea of a carbon tax keeps popping up as Democrats and Republicans face off over the budget.

Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen was paid $11,438 for his first four weeks working for the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency, with a listed annual salary of $161,900, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Education advocates made their case for increased school funding in front of Oregon lawmakers Thursday. The subcommittee that focuses on education heard testimony from people who want lawmakers to boost K-12 funding from the $7.8 billion proposed in a preliminary budget framework.

Pacific Northwest Ballet

Among many proposed budget cuts, the Trump administration wants to completely eliminate the National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts. The proposed budget cut would  impact numerous art-related programs and groups in Washington state. 

nature.org

 

When wildfires roared through Washington during the summer and fall of 2014 and 2015, they caught people’s attention, even Democratic state lawmakers from the Puget Sound area such as Rep. Larry Springer.

The Daily Astorian

Hunters, fishermen and environmental activists: it’s not often these groups are mentioned in the same breath. But recently they’re finding themselves standing shoulder to shoulder over the issue of public lands.

A state Supreme court decision Thursday gives a Washington tribe the right to transport goods and services across state lines without taxation. Attorneys and tribal members said the case is a win on the side of tribal sovereignty.

Washington state and the U.S. Forest Service signed an agreement last week that officials say will improve on-the-ground management of public lands susceptible to wildfire.

Oregon lawmakers are advancing a measure that would make it easier for transgender people to change their identity on government documents.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is calling the Republican healthcare plan in Congress “a disaster.” Inslee made his comments Wednesday as new projections on the impact to the state were released.

Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

The Pacific chorus frogs’ call is ubiquitous in the Northwest. But the amphibians are having more and more trouble hearing themselves. Traffic is drowning them out.

Courtesy of the Washington Department of Ecology

One bill would give the state oversight of railroad’s oil spill planning and impose a fee on railroads to pay for spill preparation.

Another would require railroads to prove financial responsibility for oil train crashes. It would also prohibit the legislature from funding new oil or coal projects.

During a public hearing Tuesday, businesses said on a proposed carbon tax in Washington state would cost jobs and hurt the state’s economy.

Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz said 2.7 million acres of state land is in poor health and some of that is at risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Amelia Templeton / Oregon Public Broadcasting

The West Coast is on track for a meager and potentially disastrous salmon season. Fishery managers today/Monday proposed closures and severe cutbacks protect a record-low run of Klamath River fish.

Rachael McDonald / KLCC

Petroleum industry groups have joined the Trump Administration in seeking appeal of a climate change lawsuit that’s set to go to trial next fall. The suit was brought against the federal government by 21 youth plaintiffs.

The Northwest has had above-average snowpack and rain in many areas this winter. That’s good -- it’s wiped out drought. But all that water has wildland fire managers concerned about the terrain’s greening cheatgrass.

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