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.

State Senators advanced a bill to increase transparency in Washington labor contract negotiations Tuesday.

Under current law, Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Office of Financial Management negotiate contracts in secret, then lawmakers decide whether to approve them.

Republican Senator John Braun is sponsoring a bill to change that.

It would open bargaining agreements to the public before they are approved.

He says it will speed up the process.

The Washington state Department of Corrections has contracted with The GEO Group, Inc, a Florida-based private prison company, to house up to 1,000 prisoners in Michigan to ease overcrowding.

Supporters of a proposal to extend paid sick time to most Oregon workers say the legislation has stalled.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

Hongueros, or mushroom pickers, have their share of tense encounters in the woods: with cougars and bears, and sometimes, with competing pickers who threaten to call border patrol.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network


The clock runs out Thursday on Washington’s 30-day special session of the legislature. There are indications the pace of budget negotiations has picked up. But a second special session is still likely. 

Dean Jackson / Flickr


Drought conditions are getting worse in Washington state.

Tuesday, lawmakers will decide whether to provide emergency funding to the state’s hardest-hit areas. Snowpack levels are lower than ever, rivers are drying out and irrigation districts are cutting off water to farmers.

Beth Redfield

The call of the open road beckons to electric car owners now that Washington and Oregon have completed their portions of the West Coast Electric Highway. That's a network of rapid recharging stations to enable long distance electric-powered travel. The system could eventually stretch from British Columbia to Baja California. The far end for now is in Brookings, just shy of the Oregon-California border. We sent correspondent Tom Banse out on a road test.

Jennifer C.

People in the Northwest headed for some R&R on the region’s hundreds of lakes this holiday weekend or summer may be in for a bit of a surprise.  Thanks to the drought, just getting to the water’s edge may be a challenge.

Nearly 70 percent of the reservoirs in Oregon and Washington are lower than average. The problem is getting particularly acute at several Oregon reservoirs like Detroit, Fall Creek, Owyhee and Applegate.

Ore. Governor Declares More Drought Emergencies

May 22, 2015
Bert Kaufmann

Governor Kate Brown declared drought emergencies in eight additional counties around Oregon Friday, bringing the total to 15.

She also released a public service announcement launching #ORdrought.

“It may look green now, but we are going to experience one of the worst droughts in the history of our state. Snow pack is at historic lows and severe water shortages are nearly a certainty in many areas,” says Brown.

Brown added that it’s likely to be a difficult fire season.

Police released surveillance video and the 911 call Friday from a shoplifting that preceded a police shooting in Olympia, Washington.