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.

It’s on everyone’s mind and agenda in Olympia: funding education. But some of the governor’s ideas have Washington Republicans on edge. After the governor’s speech Wednesday, GOP leaders met with the press to share what they liked - and what they didn’t.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency for all of Oregon. It comes as communities around the state struggle with heavy snow and potential flooding.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was sworn in Wednesday for a second term. In his inaugural address to a joint session of the Washington Legislature, the Democrat said his top priority this year is to fully fund education.

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney introduced a bill Tuesday that would increase regulations for railroads carrying crude oil and other hazardous materials through the state.

The bill would give the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality the authority to regulate railroads carrying hazardous materials.

As OPB reported in June, that's a level of preparation the state currently doesn’t have.

Homelessness is a matter of life and death, and state funding is vital. That was the message Tuesday as advocates for the homeless appeared before a legislative committee in Olympia.

Flickr User compdude787 / FLICKR Creative Commons

The Navy is scraping the hull of a decommissioned aircraft carrier moored at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard just outside of Bremerton. The EPA and others are concerned that could be polluting the Sound.

The Consumer Technology Association estimates about 1.2 million drones were sold during the just-completed holiday shopping season. Now one state lawmaker from western Washington wants to give you the legal right to tell a drone operator to buzz off.

Douglas County Libraries

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners is preparing to close its eleven branch libraries later this year. The board says it can no longer afford to fund the system. County Commissioners say because of declining timber revenue, they have had to pare down services. The most recent casualty is libraries. 

West Coast crab fishermen just ended an 11-day strike over a price dispute. But a more ominous and long-term threat to their livelihood may be on the horizon. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found a link between warming ocean conditions and a dangerous neurotoxin that builds up in sea life: domoic acid.

Washington state’s 65th Legislature is in session. Both the House and Senate convened at noon Monday, marking the start of a 105-day budget writing session.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took the oath of office and delivered an inaugural address before a joint session of the Oregon Legislature Monday. In her speech, she signaled that she'll make a strong push toward getting a transportation funding package through the state legislature.

Associated Press / AP Images

In his State of the State address this afternoon, Governor Butch Otter backed up his commitment to further invest in higher education by pledging millions to colleges around the state.

Health officials in Washington state said there have been 151 cases of mumps have been reported statewide since the end of October. Only 46 were reported in the four years prior. Mumps has also been reported in Oregon this year.

A major storm east of the Cascades has dumped snow and closed businesses and schools Monday. The weather has also been a factor in several accidents and deaths. Bend, Oregon, has nearly three feet of snow in some places.

The Washington Legislature convenes Monday for a 105-day budget writing session. And the political dynamic in Olympia is full of digs at President-elect Trump, partisan sniping and disagreement over how to fund education.

Digging Into Idaho Transportation Projects

Jan 9, 2017
Google Images

Idaho Governor Butch Otter will give his annual State of the State address today  to a joint session of the legislature. The governor will talk about his highest stated priority, improving public schools. One thing he said he probably won’t talk about much today, but about which he’s concerned, is finding a way to dig farther into the backlog of transportation maintenance projects. 

Cori Medeiros / WSU Spokane Communications

 

Should it be easier to criminally charge police officers in Washington who use deadly force? A legislative task force said “yes," but the vote was far from unanimous.

Office of the Governor / Flickr

Oregon Governor Kate Brown will take the oath of office and deliver an inaugural address Monday.

Ted S. Warren / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Washington state legislature has a lot on its plate this year, from funding K-12 education to dealing with the state’s mental health system. Lawmakers spoke in Seattle this morning about some of the coming challenges. 

Flickr User Padriac / Flickr

 

The attorney for the leader of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge faces a trial in April on two misdemeanor charges. They stem from a dramatic incident that played out as a jury acquitted his client, Ammon Bundy, and six others.

EPA Calls For $1 Billion Portland Harbor Superfund Cleanup

Jan 6, 2017
Bonnie Stewart / OPB

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a final plan for cleaning up pollution at the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. 

Eilis O'Neill / KUOW

 

A northwest Washington tribe's shellfish beds are a step closer to getting cleaned up after years of contamination.

Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

A delegation of civic and business leaders from Washington state and California landed in Cuba this afternoon . Their arrival coincides with Alaska Airlines' launch of daily scheduled service from Seattle via Los Angeles to Havana.

Port Of Portland Files Lawsuit Against Monsanto

Jan 5, 2017
Rick Bowmer / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Port of Portland is suing the agriculture giant Monsanto Corporation for widespread chemical contamination on port property.

Northwest Olympian Ashton Eaton Announces Retirement

Jan 4, 2017
Associated Press / AP Images

Two-time Olympic gold medal winner Ashton Eaton has announced he is retiring from track and field. The 28-year-old made the announcement via a statement on his website Wednesday. The former University of Oregon track star won gold in the decathlon at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games — as well as several world championships.

Former Washington Police Chief To Lead Oakland PD

Jan 4, 2017
Associated Press / AP Images

The Oakland Police Department in California has hired a former Spokane police chief as its new leader. Anne Kirkpatrick was introduced by Oakland’s mayor as a “reform-minded chief”. 

Alaska Airlines launches a daily flight Thursday morning from the West Coast to Havana. The new service comes as the Obama administration's opening to Cuba gives way to an uncertain future.

Washington state lawmakers face a daunting task as they convene on Monday for the 2017 legislative session: how to fully fund public schools by 2018. And that job might have just gotten harder.

Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark announced Tuesday he will deny a sublease request for the coal export project proposed in Longview and expand an aquatic reserve at Cherry Point in Puget Sound where another coal terminal was proposed.

Goldmark, who is leaving his post this month when his term expires, says he doesn’t have a position on coal exports.

Idaho Legislator Takes Lessons Into Second Term

Jan 3, 2017
Credit Idaho state legislature

 

Many first-time elected officials go into office with plans to push for major changes they promised during their campaigns. Then their experience in office leads them to moderate their views. For others whose ideas were more mainstream, the evolution as an elected official is more nuanced.

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