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.

Photo credit: USFWS / USFWS

Bald eagles are no longer considered threatened by the state of Oregon. The state's Fish and Wildlife Commission voted Friday to remove the iconic bird from the state list of endangered species.

Photo credit: U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency / U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency

RICHLAND, Wash. – There’s one less chemical weapons cache in the world today. The U.S. Army has certified to the international panel in The Hague that the Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot is free of all chemical agents in compliance with international treaties. An end-of-operations celebration is planned for March 15. Correspondent Anna King reports.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington legislature has adjourned. But not for long. Late Thursday night, Senate Democrats failed to muster the votes for a plan to re-balance the state budget. That means Washington lawmakers will return to the Capitol to finish their work. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

SPOKANE -- The Spokane Tribe of Indians just received a list of federal guidelines for their proposed casino project in Airway Heights. Along with the document came a new round of opposition. Paige Browning has more.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Oregon Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, have secured their colleagues' support of several million dollars in aid to counties in timber country. As Oregon Public Broadcasting's April Baer reports, the Senate voted 86 to 12 in favor of an amendment to extend the Secure Rural Schools Act.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers are headed into special session after adjourning their 60-day regular session. The final gavels fell just after midnight Thursday night.

“The 2012 regular session of the 62nd legislature is adjourned sine die.”

Despite the celebration, majority Democrats failed to muster the votes for a plan to re-balance the state budget. That means they will return to the Capitol Monday for an extra inning. Our Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins filed this report overnight.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Electric car owners in Washington state would pay a $100 fee under a measure headed to the governor's desk. The aim is to offset the gas taxes these drivers are not paying. The bill passed Thursday night in one of the final votes of this year's regular session of the Washington Legislature, as Tom Banse reports.

Photo credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The clock is running out on Washington’s 60 day legislative session. Lawmakers must adjourn by midnight Thursday night. But they still haven’t passed a plan to re-balance the state budget.

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Teachers and Principals in Washington are going to get graded on a new four-tier evaluation system. That’s under a new law signed by Governor Chris Gregoire Thursday. It’ll judge teachers as unsatisfactory, basic, proficient or distinguished. The new rankings will replace the current pass/fail format. The change is estimated to cost $5.3 million , but Gregoire says it’s necessary.

Photo credit by Tom Banse. / Northwest News Network

It's shaping up to be a banner year for sport and commercial salmon fishing on the coast. The Pacific Fishery Management Council has released its proposals for the length of the ocean fishing season and catch limits for 2012.

Photo Source: Daily Evergreen

The Southern Poverty Law Center says that for the third year in a row there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of people taking part in militias and what it calls the American radical right. In a new report, the Center says the increase is linked to economic issues, conspiracy theories, and the election of Barak Obama as President.

Photo by Brian Robert Marshall / Northwest News Network

OUTLOOK, Wash. – A recent study is raising questions about the air quality in the Yakima Valley. The area has a high concentration of large-scale dairies. As Courtney Flatt reports, residents living near the dairies have noticed respiratory problems as more dairies moved in.

Phot by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- Northwest-born Gardenburger and Tofurky are vegetarian alternatives to meat. They sell well, but they don't fool any meat lovers. This year, food companies from here and abroad aim to debut fake meat products that come closer than ever to mimicking the real thing. Dutch researchers claim they can grow hamburger in the laboratory from just a few bovine stem cells. But are people really craving a Petri-patty? Correspondent Tom Banse explores that question.

U.S. Army / DoD photo by Staff Sgt. William Tremblay

All four U.S. Senators from Oregon and Washington and 20 of their colleagues are asking the Obama administration for an expedited end to the war in Afghanistan. Two Republicans and one Independent Senator are part of the group. Some Democratic Senators declined to sign the letter.

Photo by John Ryan / KUOW

SEATTLE -- Small airplanes are the leading source of lead pollution in the nation’s air. Activists are suing the EPA to get the lead out of aviation fuel. KUOW's John Ryan reports.

Photo credit: Anna King / Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hibernating bears do things that doctors tell humans not to do. They eat fatty foods, lay around for months on end and get high cholesterol. Yet they don’t suffer the same ill effects we would.

Washington State University researchers have teamed up with a biotech company. They’ve begun a $200,000 study on how grizzly bears can gain so much fat each year and sleep through the winter. But each spring they emerge without diabetes or heart disease.

Researchers are monitoring eight bears’ heart rates, blood pressure, blood chemistry and overall health.

Photo credit: Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Last fall we brought you a series of stories on failures in how the Northwest treats mentally ill youth. Now, a landmark legal agreement announced Wednesday aims to bring about better treatment options for nearly 20,000 Washington kids. These are children who suffer from depression, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire acknowledged Wednesday afternoon that a special session of the legislature will be necessary to re-balance the state budget. But Gregoire says she’s still trying to keep the pressure on lawmakers to come to an agreement.

United State House of Representitives

Springfield Democrat Peter DeFazio will face a father and son in his bid for re-election to Oregon's 4th District seat in the House of Representatives.

Smooth Sailing For Idaho GOP At First Caucus

Mar 7, 2012
Graph credit: Gage / Wikimedia commons

BOISE - Idaho Republicans held their first presidential caucus Tuesday. Mitt Romney won big and it was mostly smooth sailing.

Romney Takes Idaho, Helped By Mormon Vote

Mar 7, 2012
Photo by Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho - Mitt Romney took the state of Idaho Tuesday in the state’s first-ever presidential caucus. The former Massachusetts governor won with 61 percent of the vote. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has more.

Photo by Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

BOISE, Idaho -- Super Tuesday didn’t deliver the string of decisive victories candidate Mitt Romney surely hoped for. But here in Idaho, there was no contest. Romney took more than 60 percent of the vote. He far outpaced Ron Paul, who finished second. Like Romney’s Idaho victory, the state’s first ever Republican caucus appears to have gone off without a hitch. Molly Messick has this view of how the day unfolded at the largest caucus, in Ada County.

SALEM, Ore. -- Candidate filings are in for Oregon's May primary. As Oregon Public Broadcasting's April Baer reports, Republican candidates will be scarce in some statewide races.

The state Republican party hasn't found candidates to run for State Attorney General or State Treasurer. A Republican surgeon from Bend, Knute Buehler, will run for Secretary of State against incumbent Democrat Kate Brown, who faces a primary challenge from Paul Damian Wells.

Photo by: Glenn Mosley / Northwest News Network

Two campaign stops by GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul are being credited with energizing republican voters in the college town of Moscow, ID. They turned out in big numbers for the historic Idaho Republican Caucus.

Photo credit: Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – If the weather holds, the last megaloads stranded at the Port of Lewiston will head out Tuesday toward Canada’s oil sands. These oversized truckloads of oil processing machinery have been very controversial.  Now oil companies have switched to shipping smaller loads out of the Port of Pasco.

Photo credit: Washingtonbus.org / Courtesy of Washington Bus

As lawmakers face a pressing deadline for Washington’s legislative session, the budget remains their priority. Other issues have been pushed aside, like a bill supported by a group of politically charged young people.

Photo credit: Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A follow-up now to a story we first brought you in December. It was about the default of an under-performing hockey and concert arena in Wenatchee . Governor Chris Gregoire recently signed into law a rescue plan for that project. The new law also aims to prevent future municipal defaults.

Photo credit: Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is heaping praise on the legislature for its just concluded 2012 session. The Democratic governor saw lawmakers pass all four of his major policy initiatives, including three on the final day of the session Monday. Kitzhaber was surrounded by lawmakers from both parties in his office Tuesday as he signed two of those measures into law.

Pluto isn't a planet anymore. It's been demoted. Now it's pink's turn. I'm talking about the color pink. It turns out (and this is not a new development, it's just something I didn't know), there is no pink in a rainbow. It isn't there.

Fed Shrugged Off Warnings, Let Banks Pay Shareholders Billions

Mar 6, 2012
Photo by Dan Smith / Wikimedia Commons

In early November 2010, as the Federal Reserve began to weigh whether the nation's biggest financial firms were healthy enough to return money to their shareholders, a top regulator bluntly warned: Don't let them.

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