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.

In Washington state, there’s no law to keep you from checking Facebook while you drive. But that could change during this year’s legislative session. Lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday that could force you to cut down your phone use on the road -- or pay a hefty fine if you get caught.

Old Man Winter has struck again east of the Cascades. Residents woke up Wednesday to find the deep snow covering the area frosted by an ice storm.

In the Tri-Cities, children have had nearly a dozen snow days and late-start days this winter. Piled on with airport, mountain pass and work closures -- many parents are feeling quite trapped.

KENT MILLER / NATIONAL PARK SERVICE - TINYURL.COM/JK42YOH

Grizzly bears have been listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1975. In Washington, they are considered endangered. Last week, federal officials unveiled their draft plan to reintroduce grizzlies in North Central Washington.

NOAA Finalizes New Columbia River Hatchery Plan

Jan 17, 2017
Associated Press / AP Images

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a new plan for managing Columbia River hatchery programs while protecting endangered fish. The plan calls for reduced hatchery production in some areas and a complete stop to using hatchery broodstock from outside the Columbia River.

The Boeing Company's CEO Tuesday had a second face-to-face meeting with President-elect Donald Trump to talk jet prices. Boeing's Dennis Muilenburg said they discussed a multi-billion dollar contract to replace the aging Air Force One jumbo jets and about new fighter jets for the military.

The inauguration of Donald Trump and the next session of Congress mark the end of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for the United States. The trade deal proved to be a divisive issue during the presidential election -- and not just among politicians.

Two closely-tied agriculture exporters in the Northwest, beef producers and hay farmers, will be affected by the end of  TPP in very different ways.

Donald Trump will be sworn in Friday. One issue rural America is looking for answers on is public lands: how they’re managed and whether the government should transfer them to states or even sell them off.

Washington state is playing catch-up compared to other West Coast states on earthquake preparedness. A "subcabinet" of state agency directors convened by Gov. Jay Inslee will hold its first public meeting Tuesday afternoon to review possible actions to improve.

A bipartisan group of Washington state politicians Monday endorsed the abolishment of the death penalty. The group included the current Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his Republican predecessor Rob McKenna.

The pair were flanked at a capitol news conference by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and a half-dozen senators and representatives from both parties.

Jeanie Lindsay / Northwest News Network

 

Advocates for foster children shared concerns with lawmakers in Olympia Friday, with hopes for new policy around child welfare systems in Washington.

Amy Radil / KUOW

Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General famously said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Senator Jeff Sessions also said, “We need grownups in Washington to say marijuana is NOT the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”

People in the marijuana business in Washington and Oregon are wondering how Sessions will act on those words.

Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington

The timber industry may go to court to try to reverse President Obama’s expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon.

Last summer, a hacker gained access to personal information tied to hunting and fishing licenses in Oregon, Idaho and Washington. The breach involved 7 million records.

Since then, Washington rolled out a new, more secure online system last month, but it hasn’t been entirely seamless.

Associated Press / AP Images

Residents in the snowiest parts of Oregon are reporting roof collapses following a series of winter storms. One such collapse took place at the Highland Magnet at Kenwood School in the Bend-La Pine School District.

Some lawmakers in Olympia want public university athletic departments to face closer scrutiny when they overspend. A bill was introduced Thursday that would make universities accountable to the legislature for deficits in those budgets.

Flick User Harrison / Flickr

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that two proposed fossil fuel terminal projects in Grays Harbor cannot go forward without further environmental review.

It’s on everyone’s mind and agenda in Olympia: funding education. But some of the governor’s ideas have Washington Republicans on edge. After the governor’s speech Wednesday, GOP leaders met with the press to share what they liked - and what they didn’t.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency for all of Oregon. It comes as communities around the state struggle with heavy snow and potential flooding.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was sworn in Wednesday for a second term. In his inaugural address to a joint session of the Washington Legislature, the Democrat said his top priority this year is to fully fund education.

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney introduced a bill Tuesday that would increase regulations for railroads carrying crude oil and other hazardous materials through the state.

The bill would give the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality the authority to regulate railroads carrying hazardous materials.

As OPB reported in June, that's a level of preparation the state currently doesn’t have.

Homelessness is a matter of life and death, and state funding is vital. That was the message Tuesday as advocates for the homeless appeared before a legislative committee in Olympia.

Flickr User compdude787 / FLICKR Creative Commons

The Navy is scraping the hull of a decommissioned aircraft carrier moored at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard just outside of Bremerton. The EPA and others are concerned that could be polluting the Sound.

The Consumer Technology Association estimates about 1.2 million drones were sold during the just-completed holiday shopping season. Now one state lawmaker from western Washington wants to give you the legal right to tell a drone operator to buzz off.

Douglas County Libraries

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners is preparing to close its eleven branch libraries later this year. The board says it can no longer afford to fund the system. County Commissioners say because of declining timber revenue, they have had to pare down services. The most recent casualty is libraries. 

West Coast crab fishermen just ended an 11-day strike over a price dispute. But a more ominous and long-term threat to their livelihood may be on the horizon. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found a link between warming ocean conditions and a dangerous neurotoxin that builds up in sea life: domoic acid.

Washington state’s 65th Legislature is in session. Both the House and Senate convened at noon Monday, marking the start of a 105-day budget writing session.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took the oath of office and delivered an inaugural address before a joint session of the Oregon Legislature Monday. In her speech, she signaled that she'll make a strong push toward getting a transportation funding package through the state legislature.

Associated Press / AP Images

In his State of the State address this afternoon, Governor Butch Otter backed up his commitment to further invest in higher education by pledging millions to colleges around the state.

Health officials in Washington state said there have been 151 cases of mumps have been reported statewide since the end of October. Only 46 were reported in the four years prior. Mumps has also been reported in Oregon this year.

A major storm east of the Cascades has dumped snow and closed businesses and schools Monday. The weather has also been a factor in several accidents and deaths. Bend, Oregon, has nearly three feet of snow in some places.

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