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.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has ordered a two-month hiring freeze for state government jobs. The Democrat is ordering state agencies not to fill any job vacancies during the months of May and June.

Washington state lawmakers sent a distracted driving crackdown to the governor's desk late Wednesday. And lawmakers in Oregon are steadily steering their own version of this through legislative committees.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will likely call lawmakers back into special session on Monday. This comes as the clock runs out on the 105-day regular session without a budget deal--or agreement on school funding.

That’s led to plenty of finger-pointing at the Capitol.  

The damage to roads in northeastern Washington caused by a deluge of water from snowmelt and heavy spring rain is significant enough to raise eyebrows at the federal level. 


Washington’s Department of Ecology wants more information before deciding whether to approve a shoreline permit for a controversial methanol refinery in Kalama.

In its application, NW Innovation Works establishes a self-imposed limit of 976,131 metric tons greenhouse gas emissions annually. But in the letter to the county, the Department of Ecology says its calculations found an additional 232,136 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be emitted per year.

The March For Science in Washington, D.C., is happening this Saturday on Earth Day. Smaller science events are happening across the Northwest -- even in conservative southeast Washington.

How Three Major Fires Reshaped Washington's Cities

Apr 20, 2017
Washington State Archives

It was a beautiful spring for Washington in 1889. Consistently warm temperatures. Almost no rain for the rapidly-expanding territory. Washington was only a few months from its statehood, which would come in November. That fast expansion meant densely-packed cities built hastily from wood. Wooden cities in a dry summer.

Helping juvenile salmon migrate out to sea has long been difficult and controversial. Barging is a common way to get the fish around dams.

The salmon are hauled around eight dams in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Idaho Conservation groups say this practice harms fish — and needs to stop now.

Seven groups sent a letter to NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking the agencies to this spring stop sending salmon along their migration route in barges.

A rare total eclipse of the sun will cross the U.S. on the morning of August 21, 2017. It starts on the Oregon coast and then sweeps east. In Oregon, all of the reservable public campsites and most hotels in the so-called "path of totality" were booked up long ago.

Washington Unemployment Rate Lowest In Ten Years

Apr 19, 2017

Unemployment in Washington state reached a near-record law last month. New numbers show the state's unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in March, just slightly above the national number.

Going razor clamming is sort of like going on a scavenger hunt. At least that’s how it seemed at the Washington coast with Seaview resident Andi Day.

“What we’re looking for is a little hole, that is about the size of a dime maybe, like a dimple,” she said.

With a bucket in one hand and a clam gun in the other, Day scanned the vast silver sand beach that stretches 21 miles along the peninsula. When she didn’t see any, she started stomping.

“That causes them to dig down and then they’ll show up above in the sand,” she explained.

Washington state Senate Republicans and House Democrats are at loggerheads over how to fund schools. Republicans want to replace local school levies with a new state property tax levy. Democrats want a new capital gains tax to generate more money for schools.

Tom Gallagher / AP

Officials have killed nearly 650 barred owls in the Pacific Northwest. That’s one of the findings of a new report on the first 21 months of an effort to protect northern spotted owls from invasive barred owls.

A study by the Oregon Immunization Program finds that unvaccinated children spread pertussis through their communities.

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, looked at a pertussis — or whooping cough — outbreak from 2012.

Oregon law prohibits the use of state and local resources to enforce federal immigration law if a person’s only crime is being in the country illegally. And it’s got nothing to do with President Donald Trump.

What many refer to as Oregon’s “sanctuary law” dates back 30 years – and, at the time of its implementation, it was not controversial.

The path toward becoming a sanctuary state began at the Hi Ho Restaurant in Independence, Oregon, early on Jan. 9, 1977, when several police officers approached four Chicano men.

Budget writers at the Oregon Legislature are warning of deep cuts to health care and education. The Democrats in charge of putting together a two-year spending plan released a list of potential cuts Monday.

In what has become the new normal, Washington state lawmakers are expected to go into an overtime session because they’ve been unable to agree on a state operating budget or a plan to fully fund public schools.

The regular 105-day session ends Sunday, April 23.

Oregon lawmakers heard public testimony Monday on a set of bills to regulate guns.

YAKAMA NATION

You know the name Rosa Parks. But do you know David Sohappy? He was at the center of a 30-year legal battle over Native American rights to fish salmon.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Oregon lawmakers are gearing up for a pair of hearings Monday on a set of bills to regulate firearms. The measures would do a variety of things.

In Indian Country, a gym membership is not a cultural norm and the incidence of heart disease and obesity are high. Native Americans are 60 percent more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic whites. The Coeur D'Alene tribe, whose headquarters is in northern Idaho, is trying to combat the problem by incorporating culture into fitness programs.

John Ryan / KUOW

Have you ever left a job where you were tempted to tell off your boss on your way out? After working for a quarter century at the Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Cox didn’t hold his tongue.

Northwest communities are getting their drinking water from aging infrastructure that is costly to maintain and prone to breaking down.

Marches and rallies are a common occurrence at the Washington Capitol. But recently Verizon Wireless staged a different kind of demonstration. It was part of an ongoing lobbying effort to get lawmakers to pass industry-friendly legislation. 




Zachary Michael / Northwest Public Radio

[Editor's note: After this story was posted, NWPR announcer Zachary Michael provided us an audio story on the explosion. You can hear it below.]

 

Ted S. Warren / AP

Federal immigration officials say they’re continuing to monitor a hunger strike now in its fourth day at a Tacoma detention center. It is unclear how many of the roughly 1,400 detainees are now refusing food.

A measure to crack down on prohibited gun buyers in Washington has unexpectedly died in the Republican-led state Senate. The bipartisan proposal failed to get a vote before a key deadline this week.

One casualty of the looming end of Washington state’s legislative session is a bill on police use of deadly force.

Washington has one of the highest bars in the nation for charging police officers who use deadly force. They are protected as long as they act in good faith and without malice.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Oregon lawmakers won't vote on a measure that would create a new crime called "militia terrorism." That announcement came from a key lawmaker Wednesday during a hearing on the bill, which drew plenty of opposition.

Genetic information from Kennewick Man shows the Bering Land Bridge may not have been the only route humans used to migrate to North America more than 10,000 years ago.





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