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.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Forty-two percent of America’s honey bees died in 2014. On average, beekeepers lose about 30 percent of their colonies annually – a number seen since 2006. As a trend, the numbers look even worse. In the 1940s there were 5 million managed honey bee colonies. Today, there are half as many.

The Oregon Supreme Court Thursday upheld the death sentences of a father and son convicted in the bombing deaths of two Oregon police officers in 2008. But with a moratorium on the death penalty still in place, it's unlikely the executions will be carried out any time soon.

If an Idaho state trooper stops an Idaho driver just across the Washington state line and a lawsuit ensues—whose case is it? The Washington Supreme Court Thursday said it’s basically a legal coin toss. 

A frenzy of last minute bidding on eBay Thursday produced a nice payday for two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds of Seattle.

Washinton State Department of Transportation

The toll system on four western Washington highways needs improvement.

That's the summary of a state audit on the transportation department's toll division.

Overnight, Washington Republicans have had to change gears.

Tuesday they were preparing to welcome candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich at presidential campaign rallies and events in the state. 

Now with those candidates out of the race, they’re deciding whether they want to support Donald Trump, the party's apparent nominee, or anyone at all.

Mary Altaffer/AP

Now that Donald Trump’s last two GOP rivals have dropped out, Republicans in the northwest are re-aligning. Oregon and Washington have presidential primaries this month. Campaign appearances in the northwest for Ted Cruz and John Kasich had just been announced Tuesday. The Cruz events were quickly cancelled. It’s all left supporters of Trump’s former competitors wondering what’s next.

Washington’s Western State Hospital isn’t the only state institution under federal scrutiny. The Rainier School for developmentally disabled adults in Washington state was put on notice in April that it needs to make “significant corrections.”

Malheur Occupation Trial Could Last For Months

May 4, 2016

U.S. District Judge Anna Brown is preparing for the trial of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers to last a long time, possibly months.

Speaking during a pre-trial status hearing Wednesday in Portland, Brown said she still wanted the trial of Ammon Bundy and the other occupiers to begin Sept. 7. But she also discussed how the court would manage breaks for holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, if necessary.

It just became easier for students to fly drones as part of their class work. The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday loosened restrictions on the use of unmanned aircraft in academia.

Frozen vegetables are a staple in many diets, so a huge recall of them has us peering at the packages in our freezers.

On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an outbreak of the deadly Listeria monocytogenes bacteria — and frozen vegetables and fruits are believed to be the cause.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The Washington State University Board of Regents is holding a regularly scheduled meeting May 5 and 6 to discuss several actions items for the university.

At first glance, real estate agent Theresa Mondale's listings don't sound too different from those of other agents trying to sell a piece of Montana paradise: 270 acres at the base of the Bitterroot Mountains completely surrounded by U.S. Forest Service land, stands of old growth fir and cedar trees, a spring with pure water.

Trump To Campaign In Oregon, Washington

May 4, 2016
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Sources close to the Trump campaign say he will be in Lane County on Friday.

Bundy Attorney Cleared Of Ethics Complaints

May 4, 2016
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The Oregon State Bar has thrown out two ethics complaints against Mike Arnold — the attorney representing Malheur refuge occupier Ammon Bundy.

Olympic Runner Puts Body Up For Auction

May 3, 2016

A two-time Olympian from the Pacific Northwest is renting out part of his body on eBay to make a point about the earning prospects for elite American runners. This week's auction is the latest gambit by outspoken middle-distance runner Nick Symmonds to take on his sport's governing boards.

Oregon Oysters May Contain Potentially Harmful Chemicals

May 3, 2016
Portland State University

A new study led by Portland State University finds that oysters in Coos and Netarts bays contain a cocktail of potentially harmful chemicals. But the state says it’s seen much of the data before and a health advisory is unnecessary. 

Ron Wyden, D-Ore., became the first U.S. senator to be elected entirely by mail when he was voted into office in 1996. Tuesday he told reporters he wants the vote-by-mail system to be expanded nationally, at least for federal races.

Wyden has tried unsuccessfully to get similar bills through Congress before, but he’s bringing it up again now because of long lines at polling places during this year's presidential primary season.

Idaho Press Club Honors Our Regional Reporters

May 2, 2016

A state representative admits he's not one of the cool kids and nobody wants to sit by him on an airplane full of lawmakers.

A rancher tells of a wildfire so out of control, flames jumped and reached across a highway.

Santa and Mrs. Claus are introduced to a room full of refugees in English and Arabic.

These stories and more from our reporters were awarded six honors Saturday from the Idaho Press Club, recognizing the best Idaho journalism in 2015.

Testing for lead in Washington schools is still voluntary seven years after the state passed rules to make it mandatory. That’s because state lawmakers never provided funding to pay for the testing.

Leaders of the Oregon Department of Human Services are assuring the public that the agency is committed to its mission despite recent turnover in management. That message came during a pair of public meetings Friday.

The stories are heartbreaking. An infant rolls off a bed and suffocates on a plastic bag. A one-month-old dies while sleeping between two adults.

According to a report on child fatalities released Friday by Washington state’s Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds, unsafe sleep conditions are the leading cause of death for infants in whose families have come into contact with the child welfare system.

Kasich Says He Can Still Turn Around Campaign

Apr 29, 2016
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The Ohio governor, John Kasich, held a town hall for about 300 supporters. He later told reporters Oregon is a good fit because Republicans here aren’t as conservative as in some states.

The candidates for governor in Oregon have spent nearly $1.7 million dollars so far this year in their quest for office. So what has all that money bought them as the May 17 primary approaches?

On the eve of a two-week closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, former Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said she’s confident the tunneling project under Seattle’s waterfront will ultimately succeed.

The viaduct is closing to allow the tunnel-boring machine known as Bertha to dig underneath the double-decker structure. Under the original timeline the tunnel was supposed to be open by now and the viaduct long ago torn down.

Amy Radil / / KUOW

The battle over restroom and locker room access for transgender people has come to Washington state. Critics of the state’s open access policy are gathering signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot.

Ballots are going out in the mail this week to Oregon voters in advance of next month's primary. And it appears that independent voters are signing up in droves to vote in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.

ENERGY NORTHWEST

A third anonymous letter is criticizing an investigation into the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant. The investigation stems from other letters written by apparent insiders at Energy Northwest and is looking into the plant’s performance.

An ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man moved a major step forward toward reburial Wednesday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it has accepted DNA analysis that ties the remains found in the Tri-Cities to modern Native Americans.

The grocery industry is calling it quits on a potential ballot measure that would have privatized liquor sales in Oregon. Currently, hard liquor like whiskey, vodka and gin can only be sold in state-chartered stores.

Grocers want to be able to sell it along with their current selections of beer and wine, but the industry group behind the effort said Wednesday they won't collect any more signatures for the initiative.

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