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.

Northwest Public Radio's Anna King was featured on All Things Considered Sunday, as part of their NPR Poetry series. Her poem is titled "Walla Walla Road." 

Walla Walla Road

Onion peel butterflies unfurl their wings.

Flit past my panes

as blacktop slips west.

King, who reports from central Washington, was inspired while driving.

Oregon Chief Justice Calls For End To ICE Courthouse Arrests

Apr 10, 2017
Bradley W. Parks / OPB

Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Balmer said Thursday that actions by federal immigration officers have been a "strong deterrent" for some individuals trying to access the criminal justice system.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest Public Rado

Northwest rivers are running high as all that winter snowpack melts into spring runoff. That means the region is producing too much of a good thing: carbon-free, renewable energy in the form of both dam-generated hydropower along with electricity from spinning wind-farm turbines.

April is the traditional start of the whitewater rafting season. The hefty snowpack in the mountains this year is good news for commercial rafting companies and recreational enthusiasts across the West.

Matt Rourke / AP Images

Washington state, California and Montana legislators are moving quickly on state privacy protections to forbid broadband service providers such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from selling your personal browsing data without your permission.

Lobbyists in Oregon would have to publicly disclose their positions on bills they're trying to influence under a measure approved by the state House Thursday.

http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2200&Year=2017

Lawmakers in Washington state, California and potentially Oregon are moving quickly to reimpose internet privacy rules repealed by Congress. President Donald Trump on Monday signed off on rolling back regulations that would have forbidden broadband service providers such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from selling your personal browsing data without your permission.

Liz Jonres / KUOW Photo

As the Trump Administration approaches 100 days in office, immigration enforcement remains at the forefront. Washington's top lawyer says police departments, schools, and even hospitals are confused about how to interact with Federal immigration officials. That's why Attorney General Bob Ferguson has released a 50-page guide that lays out best practices and policies.

Opponents Aim To Block State Funding For Methanol Plant

Apr 6, 2017

Opponents of a methanol refinery proposed on the Columbia River say Washington is poised to spend $12 million in public funds to help build the controversial plant.

They sent a letter to Washington lawmakers Thursday asking them to block that spending because it would pay for a dock and a road needed by methanol project developer Northwest Innovation Works.

Returning an ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man to the earth was a private affair. After decades of legal battling, a couple hundred people gathered in the early-morning chill of February for the burial.

Using Whale Breath To Find Out What's Ailing Orcas

Apr 6, 2017

Scientists have a new tool to figure out what’s ailing Puget Sound’s resident orcas. They’re studying whale breath, which is no easy feat.

“We had petri dishes that were mounted on an extendable pole,” explains Linda Rhodes, with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. “We had to position the boat close enough to the whale so that when it surfaced and exhaled we would be able to pass the petri dishes through the plume.”

As advocates for medical marijuana gather in Washington, D.C., on Friday for an annual conference, supporters of marijuana legalization are worried.

That's because new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been making tough comments about the drug, and there's a lot of uncertainty about how the Trump administration will enforce federal law.

Over his 20 years in the U.S. Senate, Jeff Sessions made no secret of his disdain for marijuana. In his new job as the nation's top federal law enforcement officer, his position on marijuana has not moderated.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

The Oregon Senate approved two bills today that would protect victims of sex trafficking from criminal convictions related to their own exploitation.

If you have trouble getting a good night's sleep, it could be in your DNA. A team led by Washington State University-Spokane researchers has discovered a gene that influences the quality of sleep across species.

Oregon politicians aren't allowed to hold duels. It says so in the state constitution. But one state lawmaker Wednesday made his case for ending that ban.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., held the Senate floor overnight with a 15-and-a-half-hour speech opposing the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Oregon lawmaker yielded the Senate floor at 7:13 a.m. Pacific time Wednesday after giving what his staff said was one of the 10 longest speeches in Senate history.

“We can rise above the situation in which we have put ourselves, the situation in which one team for the first time in U.S. history has stolen a Supreme Court seat," a visibly tired Merkley said shortly before ending his speech.

After years of resistance, Washington and Oregon lawmakers are finally acknowledging they have to accept stricter federal driver’s license security standards. Both states appear to be settling on having two kinds of licenses.

Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Four conservation groups are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an effort to limit the federal government’s use of deadly cyanide traps.

The Oregon House narrowly voted Tuesday to ban most no-cause evictions and to allow cities to pass local rent control ordinances.

Monday night's national title game was expected to be a fast-paced, competitive showcase for North Carolina forward Justin Jackson and Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, two of the best players in college this season.

It was certainly competitive, but with both teams' tough defenses locking up the main offensive options, the game turned into a foul-laden slog rather than a shootout. The Tar Heels were able to pin their opponent in the end, 71-65, winning the school's sixth national title.

The Oregon House could vote as soon as Tuesday on a measure that would ban most no-cause evictions in the state.

Federal Government Turns Down Idaho Disaster Request

Apr 3, 2017
Associated Press / AP Images

Idaho Governor Butch Otter says the federal government has turned down his request for federal disaster funds to help the state rebuild after late winter flooding.

The governors of Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska have written a joint letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking for forbearance with their marijuana policy experiments.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington lawmakers are working this year to craft a solution to the state’s school funding crisis. Much of their work is happening behind the scenes and in closed door meetings. So who’s in those meetings and who’s trying to influence the outcome? The top four leaders of the legislature denied a public records request to see their emails and calendars. 

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

For the first time, Gonzaga University could bring the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship trophy home to Spokane. The Bulldogs beat the South Carolina Gamecocks 77-73 in Phoenix Saturday in the semifinal round of the Final Four.

Oregon Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has officially declared today “Cesar Chavez Day."  Immigrant rights and farm worker groups are holding marches through the weekend to honor the famed Latino activist, and to protest President Trump’s immigration policies. 

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says initiative promoter Tim Eyman violated campaign finance laws for personal gain. Ferguson filed a lawsuit Friday against Eyman and a signature-gathering firm he worked closely with. 

Clint Thompson/University of Georgia / Flickr

 

Environmental groups and small farmers say they will continue to fight a mega-dairy in Eastern Oregon that received a key permit. They say the dairy will harm water and air quality in the region. 

Members of the Oregon congressional delegation are co-sponsoring a bill that would limit areas where federal immigration enforcement can take place.

Debating The Future Of Snake River Dams

Mar 31, 2017
Public domain

Pro-dam and pro-breach panelists debated the future of Snake River dams earlier this week at Washington State University. Both sides refuted each other’s facts, leaving the panel unable to find common ground.

                                                                                                                      

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