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.

Washington Rowing

Eight more Olympic medalists with ties to our region stood on the podium this weekend before Brazilian music brought the Summer Games to a close in Rio.

Berkeley Lab / Google Images

Researchers from Portland State University are in Eugene today to find the city’s hot spots. Their study of urban “heat islands” can help planners to improve conditions during heat waves like the one we’re experiencing.

PSU urban studies and environmental science professor Dr. Vivek Shandas says heat-waves kill more people than all other natural disasters combined. Shandas and his team have done a similar study of heat islands in Portland. He’s observed abundant tree canopy and farmland in Eugene’s urban core. He knows trees can provide cooler temps.

Portland runner Galen Rupp returns to competition at the Summer Olympics early Sunday morning. Rupp will race in the men's marathon just a week after he finished fifth in the 10,000-meter run.

Washington gubernatorial candidates touched on the topic of oil trains during their first debate of the season in Spokane Wednesday.

In southeast Washington, the Range 12 Fire is finally out. But now there’s 176,600 acres of black. And it’s roasted much of the valuable habitat on the Hanford Reach National Monument.

On a gray, rainy afternoon a man walks into a library and shows a missing-person flyer to a librarian. It’s in a day’s work for a foster child “locator” whose job is to find kids who’ve run away.

On a Tuesday morning a pair of brothers cry in court and say goodbye to their mother as they are sent to juvenile detention for skipping school--a phenomenon in which Washington state leads the country.

With a coffee cup in her hand, a woman visits the jail where her brain-injured son has been held for 57 days, asking through a bulletproof window about his medication.

darwin Bell / FLICKR Creative Commons

Audio Pending...

Oregon has approved new rules for schools aimed at improving health conditions in the state’s aging buildings. The State Board of Education doesn’t have the power to require school districts to test for lead. That’s because it passes rules – not laws. The Board can require districts to provide plans.

The Pulse Of The Palouse: Celebrating Lentils

Aug 18, 2016
National Lentil Festival

The lentil is more than a tiny legume to the people of the Palouse. The National Lentil Festival happens annually in Pullman to celebrate the once-major crop of the region.


The festival began in 1989 to promote tourism to the Palouse and promote locally grown pulses, mostly lentils. At that time the Palouse produced 98 percent of the U.S. lentils and gained the nickname “The Lentil Capital of the World.”

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant sparred in Spokane Wednesday in the first debate of the gubernatorial campaign.

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman debated her challenger at Spokane Falls Community College Wednesday afternoon. The first-term Republican faces Democrat and former Seattle City Councilmember Tina Podlodowski.

Washington state's above-average unemployment rate hasn't budged since last December. For July, the state’s Department of Employment Security Wednesday again pegged it at 5.8 percent.

Authorities in southwest Washington said police shot and killed a man Wednesday morning after he assaulted an officer.

The shooting took place at a gas station in Kelso, Washington, about 50 miles north of Portland. Police said they were responding to reports of a shoplifter.

Kelso Police Officer John Johnston arrived on the scene and was attempting to view video footage of the shoplifting incident when the suspect returned to the store with a large pole, described as a walking stick, and began assaulting people, including Johnston.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said workers at Hanford tank farms who say radioactive waste is making them sick need to be heard.

Associated Press / AP Images

Time is running out for Washington Republican Senate hopeful Chris Vance. That's one conclusion from a new poll. But there is still a glimmer of hope for Vance in his race against Democratic Senator Patty Murray.

Ray Bouknight / Flickr

The Federal government has allocated $3.7 million for an earthquake early warning system for the west coast. The U.S. Geological Survey awarded additional grant money to the University of Oregon.

Zack W / Flickr

On a near-daily basis, oil trains pass through the heart of Spokane past two major hospitals, a handful of schools and across an aquifer that serves nearly half a million people.

Ancient Native American Stone Pieces Unearthed

Aug 16, 2016
Brian Bull / KLCC

What’s being called a significant archaeological discovery has been found in Oregon’s Willamette valley. The ancient obsidian objects are linked to early Native American activity in the region.

A bipartisan coalition of Western U.S. lawmakers has renewed a call to change how the federal government pays to put out big forest fires. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management divert money from fire prevention and other programs to pay firefighting costs during bad fire years.

Two weeks ago, the Spokane City Council approved a ballot measure that garnered national attention. It would impose a fine on every rail car that transports coal or oil through the heart of the city.  Monday the council could consider its withdrawal.

Malheur refuge occupier Jon Ritzheimer pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to prevent federal employees through force and intimidation from doing their jobs.

“I forcibly occupied the refuge,” Ritzheimer, 32, told U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown. “I can see how my conduct and my actions there would be intimidating."

Prosecutors recommend Ritzheimer serve two-and-a-half years in prison for his role.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Ritzheimer, from Peoria, Arizona, will also have to pay restitution.

Associated Press / AP Images

University of Oregon alum Brianne Theisen-Eaton won a bronze medal in the heptathlon this weekend at the Olympic Games. Other former Ducks are doing well in Rio too. 

Bradley Parks / Oregon Public Broadcasting

There were medals a-plenty for Northwest athletes competing at the Summer Olympics in Brazil this weekend. One runner from Portland missed out on the podium in a dramatic race, but got kudos afterwards for sportsmanship.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

This year Washington farmers estimate they’ll harvest about 133 million boxes of apples. That’s up 15 percent over last year’s crop, but it won’t pluck the top record from the biggie 2014. The harvest is just now starting.

The Northwest apple harvest is just underway and pickers are wading into the lush orchards. And so far things look dramatically better than last year.

Courtney Flatt

Audio Pending...

Nestlé is looking to build a commercial water bottling plant in the Northwest. Its most recent pitch is to the town of Waitsburg, 20 miles north of Walla Walla. The plan to bottle water from Coppei springs is tying the small community in knots.

In a stunning upset in Olympic women's soccer Friday, Sweden eliminated defending gold medalists and reigning World Cup champions Team USA. The quarterfinal match in Brasilia went to penalty kicks after the teams deadlocked 1-1 through 120 minutes of play.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he’s disappointed by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's decision not to reclassify marijuana. In a letter Thursday, the DEA said marijuana will remain a Schedule I drug for now.

It’s been 18 years since Republicans last controlled both chambers of the Washington legislature. They’re hoping 2016 is the year they can reclaim the majority. But that will require holding on to their narrow grip on the state Senate and flipping the Washington House -- something Democrats are determined not to let happen.

DANIEL BASIL / Wikimedia

Thursday the action is on the water for Northwest athletes at the Summer Olympics -- provided the high winds on a Rio lagoon subside.

Amanda Peacher / Oregon Public Broadcasting

More than 100 people attended a Forest Service community meeting in John Day Tuesday, about last summer’s Canyon Creek Fire.