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.



A new report about the radioactive tank waste at Hanford says the cleanup could take decades longer and cost billions more than estimated. The document, called “System Plan 8”, proposes 11 complex scenarios for how the 56 million gallons of radioactive tank waste could be moved out of those tanks and treated. 



The U.S. Department of State and the Canadian government announced Thursday that formal renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty will begin in early 2018. Fish, electric rates, and flood protection are all part of the 53-year-old international treaty between the U.S. and Canada.

John Sepulvado / OPB


The Trump administration is rolling back a requirement for trains carrying highly explosive liquids — like the oil trains that run through the Columbia River Gorge en route to Northwest refineries.


Federal agencies are a step closer to deciding how best to manage the Columbia River system and protect endangered fish. They outlined goals for a range of plans at a public meeting Thursday.

A series of public meetings this past year gave the agencies plenty to think about. They received more than 400,000 comments about how to protect endangered salmon and steelhead and, at the same time, maintain navigation channels for river traffic, control floods, and meet hydropower demands.

AP Images


Wasco County, Oregon, won’t be sending any more children to a juvenile detention facility in The Dalles — at least for now.


The decision comes after a report found “psychologically harmful conditions” at the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility. 

Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine


For years, students who wanted to go to medical school in Washington and Idaho had only one choice, the University of Washington’s WWAMI program, which serves Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. Now they have four choices. 

Idaho Legislature


A prominent young Native American politician from North Idaho will run for Governor in the Gem State in 2018. She’ll join 12 other candidates in the gubernatorial race. 

Washington Legislature/2014


A fiery top Republican in the Washington Legislature is facing renewed scrutiny over allegations he sexually harassed students as a professor at Central Washington University.

Late Wednesday, The Seattle Times made public for the first time a 2013 investigation commissioned by CWU into the conduct of state Rep. Matt Manweller, a tenured professor of political science at the school.

Courtesy Portland Tribune

Several conservation groups are challenging new rules involving the permitting process for large power plants in Oregon.

The new rules consolidate two public comment periods into one that happens further into the process of building a new power plant.

U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy is about start shoring up another train tunnel full of old radioactive equipment at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state. This is all happening because a similar train tunnel full of waste—called Tunnel 1—collapsed this spring.

Eilis O'Neill/KUOW/EarthFix

This is the final part in a series on the future of fish farming in the Pacific Northwest. Read part 1 here.

Inside a chilly warehouse on the north end of Vancouver Island, eight giant tanks are lit with swimming pool lights. These are fish tanks — some of the biggest fish tanks around. Every so often the glistening back of a fish surfaces.

This is Kuterra, an Atlantic salmon farm that operates on land. That land belongs to the Namgis First Nation.

File Photo/KUOW

Over the past decade, Seattle and King County have seen a big spike in the number of people experiencing homelessness.

A new report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shows an increase in homelessness nationwide for the first time since 2010. The report suggests the increase is due to surging homeless populations on the West Coast.


A group of young people suing President Donald Trump and the federal government over climate change will present their case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Monday, Dec. 11.


The price of bitcoin set another new all-time high Wednesday, shooting past $13,000. The meteoric rise in the value of bitcoin and lesser known virtual currencies is having a real world effect in the Pacific Northwest.

Eilis O’Neill/KUOW/EarthFix

 This is the first in a two-part series on Atlantic salmon fish farming in the Northwest. Read part 2 here.

The Hope Island Fish Farm floats in the middle of Puget Sound, about a 15-minute boat ride from Whidbey Island’s Deception Pass. Narrow metal walkways surround giant nets anchored to the bottom of the sound. Those nets hold thousands of Atlantic salmon--though it’s difficult to see them until they jump.



Two high school students who were shot near their school Tuesday in the city of Graham near Tacoma are expected to survive. That's according to officials with the Pierce County Sheriff's office. At least one suspect is in custody.

Molly Solomon / Oregon Public Broadcasting

Posters reading “It’s OK to be white” were posted at a community college campus in Vancouver, Washington. Clark College is holding a series of town halls this week to address the incident, which many at the school are calling offensive. 


Of the states that have legalized marijuana, Washington is the only one that doesn’t allow recreational users the freedom to grow their own cannabis.

Now the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board is offering the legislature some home grow options.

Washington Legislature

Washington state Sen. Karen Keiser says she wants to encourage disclosure of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. To that end, the Democrat introduced legislation December 4 that would place limits on non-disclosure agreements.

Anna King/Northwest News Network

A Colorado case before the U.S. Supreme Court this week could have major implications for a similar case in Washington state. That case involves a Richland florist who’s been waging a multi-year legal battle.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Seattle will soon be getting a new police chief.

SPD's current chief - Kathleen O'Toole - is stepping down at the end of this year. She'll be handing the police department's top job to deputy chief Carmen Best until a nationwide search can be completed.

Jeff Barnard / AP

President Trump announced Monday that he is significantly shrinking two national monuments in Utah. Two other monuments are on the chopping block as well – including Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

But for the time being, the Southern Oregon Monument remains intact.

The company that wants to build a coal export terminal in Longview, Washington, is keeping lawyers busy this week on multiple fronts. In recent months, the Millennium Bulk Terminals project has suffered repeated setbacks, mainly in the form of permit denials.

The state of Washington may soon follow Oregon and California and allow a third gender option on birth certificates. The proposal would let people change their gender from male or female to the non-binary designation of “X.”

Google Maps / Esmy Jimenez


Disney-Pixar’s film “Coco” about Dia de los Muertos, has received stellar reviews from critics. The animated film has brought in over $200 million worldwide since its release.

Bradley W. Parks / Oregon Public Broadcasting


The Supreme Court will take on a case Tuesday that could affect the ruling of a nearly identical one moving through the courts in Oregon. 

Another Democrat has entered a crowded race to unseat Washington Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler. Thursday night Carolyn Long announced her bid for Congress at a launch party in Vancouver.


More than two months after Hurricane Maria, some people in Puerto Rico and Dominica still lack internet connectivity. One Pacific Northwest company is helping hurricane victims in the Caribbean get online.


Washington voters set a record in the general election this month, but not one election officials are proud of.

Voter turnout was the lowest ever recorded for a Washington state general election, dating back to the 1930s.

Maëlick / Flickr

Stormwater runoff is the largest source of pollution into Puget Sound. It comes from rain or snowmelt that travels over pavement and carries oil and other toxics into the water.