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.

Five Northwest ski resorts have changed hands in about the past month in a series of unrelated deals. The ownership of Stevens Pass and The Summit at Snoqualmie in the Washington Cascades and Cypress Mountain by West Vancouver changed in a 15-mountain transaction announced late Wednesday between a trio of holding companies back East.

Washington prison inmates will no longer be called “offenders.” The Secretary of Corrections made that announcement in an all-staff message Tuesday.

Canadian residents generally can't vote in our election, but they can gamble on the outcome through several provincial lotteries. And the bets are piling up.

MORGAN MCCLOY / NPR

Washington state officials are calling it the largest campaign-finance penalty in U.S. history. A judge in Olympia has ordered the Grocery Manufacturers Association  to pay an $18 million fine for deliberately hiding its donors.

An initiative proposed for next year’s ballot in Spokane, Washington, would restrict coal and oil transport through the city by train. But now a hearing examiner for the city of Spokane says the proposal cannot be enforced.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

Lee Johnson goes on walks around his sprawling property at least twice a day. His land, just outside Wauconda, is covered by a dense forest. A neighboring wetland also draws in lots of birds.

A vast pool of warmer-than-normal ocean water off of the West Coast continues to mess with our weather and sea life. It's nicknamed "The Blob.”

A new state audit says the Oregon agency that monitors natural hazards has engaged in some questionable fiscal practices. The report says the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries is also taking steps to correct the problem.

First they called for her resignation. Now the Republican leaders of the Washington House and Senate are calling for the suspension of the director of the state’s campaign finance watchdog.

More than a quarter of the lands in Washington state and more than half of Oregon’s acreage are owned by the U.S. government. It’s land that makes up national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife refuges.

So what would it mean if the federal government did what many have been asking for, and transferred those lands to states?

Harvest time and the holiday season often remind us of our blessings. In this spirit, we asked Northwest Public Radio staff members to share some of the reasons they are grateful for living in the Pacific and Inland Northwest. Why do you love living here?  Send an email, photo, tweet or post on our Facebook page.

Magnus Manske / Wikkjicommons

Rodents love vineyards, and that’s a problem. Mice, voles and gophers can damage crops. But owls love rodents, and these predators can be a natural pest solution.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / FLICKR Creative Commons

The American West had record low snowpack last year, likely because of high temperatures and greenhouse gases. That’s according to a new report out of Oregon State University’s Climate Change Research Institute.

Associated Press / AP Images

Ask questions and check your credit regularly. That’s the advice the state Attorney General’s office is giving after releasing a report on data breaches. The report says nearly half-a-million Washington residents were affected by 39 reported breaches between July of last year and July of this year. Financial account information was compromised most often in those breaches. 

The lead budget writer in the Washington state Senate has died of lung cancer at age 54. Republican Andy Hill’s family announced his death Tuesday.

Negative ads work. That’s why political campaigns air them. But these days figuring out who’s funding them can be like unraveling a mystery. And to follow the money you have to unpack and keeping unpacking the PACS.

Courtesy of the Governor's Office

Schools are on the Oregon ballot in a big way. The corporate tax initiative, Measure 97, would raise billions - much of it for schools. Scan down a little further and Measure 98 would direct state funding to high school programs - dropout prevention, college readiness and career training. It would not raise taxes. But as Rob Manning reports, Measure 98 is raising some concerns. 

A new white paper by the Washington state attorney general’s office finds the state’s system of conducting background checks for gun purchases to be fragmented, complex and inconsistent.

Courtney Flatt

Two summers ago, a firestorm swept through Ken Bevis’ land outside Winthrop. It scarred hillsides, destroyed homes and outbuildings. Bevis turned to his folk music to help cope.

Brian Bull / Northwest News Network

Oregon is one of only three states that vote by mail. Now one of its senators wants to make that a national practice. With a week left before ballots are due, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden is pushing his “Vote By Mail Act of 2016”. 

Democrats are in firm control of both chambers of the Oregon legislature. But in the state House, nearly one-quarter of the current members won't be returning to the capitol next year. That's led to a number of hotly contested races for open seats.

And many of those battleground districts are in the suburbs.

In Washington’s Tri-Cities, an attorney on the losing side of a gay wedding flowers case is now seeking to unseat the judge who ruled against her. Early last year, Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom ruled that the owner of Arlene’s Flowers broke the law when she refused to sell flowers for a gay couple's wedding.

There’s a myth that the Northwest is a hub of serial killers. After all, some of America’s most notorious murderers come from the region, such as  Gary Ridgway, the so-called “Green River Killer,” known as America’s most prolific serial killer. He pled guilty to 49 murders (and may have killed many more).

 

NOAA Fisheries

Whale researchers who track the small endangered population of Puget Sound orcas say three whales are believed dead or missing since this summer. The Center for Whale Research says, as of Friday, there are only 80 animals. Two females and a 10-month old calf are believed gone.

Oregonians are returning their ballots at a faster pace so far than either of the past two presidential elections. But what happens to all those ballots before they get counted?

A short online post broke the story to viewers and readers that the regional all-news channel Northwest Cable News will air its last broadcast on January 6.

Associated Press / AP Images

Federal officials are taking a closer look at dam operations, as they update a new recovery plan for threatened fish that migrate hundreds of miles up the Columbia and Snake rivers. The plan comes during renewed debate over whether the Snake River dams should be removed.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

 

For some, death isn’t spooky or scary like Halloween. Hispanic families across the Northwest are preparing to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

Reaction is coming in fast to the not guilty verdicts for the seven Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers.

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice released exactly the same press release saying while they had hoped for a different outcome, they respect the verdicts and thanked the jury.

But outdoor groups are angry.

Audubon Society President David Yarnold said he’s outraged and that wild lands belong to everyone, not the people who hold them at gunpoint. He said the verdicts undermines the rule of law.

The director of Washington’s campaign finance watchdog, Evelyn Fielding Lopez, said if she had a do-over she wouldn’t weigh-in on the accuracy of political campaign ads in a hotly contested state Senate race.

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