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.

For Tim Eyman, when it comes to initiatives it’s all about timing. And now the professional initiative promoter thinks the time is right for another version of his $30 car tabs measure. That’s because of Sound Transit 3, the voter-approved measure that has resulted in a spike in vehicle registration renewal fees.

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The FBI agent indicted for allegedly lying about a pivotal moment during the 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation has hired a high-profile Washington D.C.-based attorney to defend him.

Molly Solomon / Oregon Public Broadcasting

Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is working with local craft breweries to streamline the business of beer making. The Republican from southwest Washington toured a Vancouver brewery this week and hosted a roundtable discussion.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has emerged as a fierce critic of President Donald Trump. The Democrat has hit the cable news circuit and blasted the president over immigration, health care, climate change.

In doing so, Inslee’s developed a national profile.  

For the first time since 1983, there will be no statewide initiatives on the November ballot in Washington state. More than 30 initiatives to the people had been filed in Washington since January.

Friday was the deadline to turn in qualifying signatures.

Andrew Selsky / Associated Press

The Oregon Legislature on Friday finished a more than five-month session that left most participants with mixed emotions.

In a move certain to anger Republicans, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday vetoed a tax break for manufacturers that lawmakers passed last week as part of a budget deal to avoid a July 1 government shutdown.

An investigation into a recent passenger train derailment near Steilacoom, Washington, reveals speed and human error are to blame.

Monday marked the start of the Northwest’s bin-busting wheat harvest. Last year was big, but this year’s wet winter and spring has poured on the yields.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Eric Lee Flores, 23, was sentenced Thursday for his role in taking over an eastern Oregon wildlife refuge. Flores is a member of the Tulalip Tribes in Washington and the youngest of the 26 defendants charged in the case.

bloomsberries / Flickr

 

A Washington State Supreme Court ruling has raised the bar for removing jurors of color from an all-white panel. In its ruling the high court says courts must now do more analysis to determine if the removal of the juror was based on race. 

Andrew Selsky / Associated Press

An Oregon initiative aimed at funding programs at public high schools passed the state senate Thursday. The statewide teachers union argued Measure 98 was an unfunded mandate: $290 million of worthy goals without a funding source.

Elaine Thompson / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The death of Charleena Lyles in an encounter with Seattle police will likely result in an inquest.

Online shoppers in Washington state may soon have to pay sales tax on out-of-state e-commerce purchases. Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday is expected to sign a package of tax increases just approved by the state legislature to balance the next two-year budget.

But the internet sales tax seems likely to be challenged in court.

Beginning in 2020, workers in Washington will be eligible for paid family and medical leave through a new state program funded by employee and employer contributions. 



Jackie Johnston / Associated Press

 

The Edmonds City Council recently approved a resolution to aim for 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025. It’s the first city in Washington to do so.

Oregon House Passes Landmark Transportation Bill

Jul 5, 2017
Don Ryan / Associated Press

A landmark transportation bill for Oregon looks like it will soon become reality. The state House passed a measure today that raises taxes and fees by $5.3 billion over the next decade. That money will be used to relieve highway bottlenecks, boost transit and improve safety.

A new bill in Congress would make sure Washington's four lower Snake River dams stay standing. It’s push back against a recent court order to find “a new approach” to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.

That approach could include removing or altering the dams.

That's not something Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington, thinks would be good for the Northwest. Newhouse introduced the legislation, along with four other Northwest representatives.

Fire Safety Over the Fourth

Jul 4, 2017
John Froschauer / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Department of Natural Resources oversees thousands of acres of public lands throughout Washington and manages the state’s largest on call fire department, and it’s calling on people to celebrate independence from wildfires this Fourth of July. 

The Oregon Senate voted Monday to extend health insurance coverage to children who are in the country illegally. The $36 million plan would enroll those children in the state's Medicaid program.

A measure that aims to prevent the so-called practice of "lunch shaming" in Oregon is one step closer to becoming law.

The Oregon Senate voted unanimously Monday for a bill that would ban schools from singling out kids who can't pay for their meal.

Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, said he was the victim of that kind of public humiliation when he was a child.

"I remember how important it was to have a 3 cent carton of milk as my nutrition for the day," said Manning.

Oregon state lawmakers want to use $100 million in state bonds to help keep the Elliott State Forest in public hands.

Oregon legislators released their list Monday of projects to bond in the next two years. Money for the Elliott State Forest is the most controversial item.

The 82,500-acre Southern Oregon forest is supposed to be used to raise money for education, but revenue from timber harvests has dropped in recent years. State leaders had planned to sell the forest to a private timber company and a partnering Native-American tribe. But environmentalists objected.

Smoke From Silver Dollar Fire Sends Hanford Workers Home

Jul 3, 2017

The estimated size of the Silver Dollar wildfire has grown in southeast Washington state Monday. More than 20,000 acres were burning near the Hanford nuclear site. The fire is 30 percent contained.

Ted S. Warren / ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman has returned to work after several weeks of cancer treatment.

It’s not just the president’s commission on voter fraud that’s seeking information from the states. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman released a letter Monday from the Department of Justice.

The legal age for buying tobacco products in Oregon could soon rise from 18 to 21. A measure to make that change cleared a key legislative hurdle Monday.

Freight and passenger service on the busy railroad mainline between Seattle and Portland should be getting back to normal later this afternoon. BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas said an Amtrak train that derailed at low speed near Steilacoom, Washington, Sunday afternoon has been cleared from the tracks.

Andrew Selsky / ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

Oregon state lawmakers want to use $100 million in state bonds to help keep the Elliott State Forest in public hands.

The deadline to reach a decision on a controversial oil terminal planned for Vancouver has been pushed back again. The Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, filed an extension that will give it until Aug. 31 to make a recommendation to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

The extension is the sixth time the state energy board has pushed the deadline for a recommendation.

TTARASIUK / flicker.com

 

Brightly colored and loud explosions are expected through the 4th of July.  And fire officials are urging common sense for those residents staging their own fireworks show.

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