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.

The Washington Legislature convenes Monday for a 105-day budget writing session. And the political dynamic in Olympia is full of digs at President-elect Trump, partisan sniping and disagreement over how to fund education.

Digging Into Idaho Transportation Projects

Jan 9, 2017
Google Images

Idaho Governor Butch Otter will give his annual State of the State address today  to a joint session of the legislature. The governor will talk about his highest stated priority, improving public schools. One thing he said he probably won’t talk about much today, but about which he’s concerned, is finding a way to dig farther into the backlog of transportation maintenance projects. 

Cori Medeiros / WSU Spokane Communications


Should it be easier to criminally charge police officers in Washington who use deadly force? A legislative task force said “yes," but the vote was far from unanimous.

Office of the Governor / Flickr

Oregon Governor Kate Brown will take the oath of office and deliver an inaugural address Monday.


The Washington state legislature has a lot on its plate this year, from funding K-12 education to dealing with the state’s mental health system. Lawmakers spoke in Seattle this morning about some of the coming challenges. 

Flickr User Padriac / Flickr


The attorney for the leader of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge faces a trial in April on two misdemeanor charges. They stem from a dramatic incident that played out as a jury acquitted his client, Ammon Bundy, and six others.

EPA Calls For $1 Billion Portland Harbor Superfund Cleanup

Jan 6, 2017
Bonnie Stewart / OPB

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a final plan for cleaning up pollution at the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. 

Eilis O'Neill / KUOW


A northwest Washington tribe's shellfish beds are a step closer to getting cleaned up after years of contamination.

Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

A delegation of civic and business leaders from Washington state and California landed in Cuba this afternoon . Their arrival coincides with Alaska Airlines' launch of daily scheduled service from Seattle via Los Angeles to Havana.

Port Of Portland Files Lawsuit Against Monsanto

Jan 5, 2017

The Port of Portland is suing the agriculture giant Monsanto Corporation for widespread chemical contamination on port property.

Northwest Olympian Ashton Eaton Announces Retirement

Jan 4, 2017
Associated Press / AP Images

Two-time Olympic gold medal winner Ashton Eaton has announced he is retiring from track and field. The 28-year-old made the announcement via a statement on his website Wednesday. The former University of Oregon track star won gold in the decathlon at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games — as well as several world championships.

Former Washington Police Chief To Lead Oakland PD

Jan 4, 2017
Associated Press / AP Images

The Oakland Police Department in California has hired a former Spokane police chief as its new leader. Anne Kirkpatrick was introduced by Oakland’s mayor as a “reform-minded chief”. 

Alaska Airlines launches a daily flight Thursday morning from the West Coast to Havana. The new service comes as the Obama administration's opening to Cuba gives way to an uncertain future.

Washington state lawmakers face a daunting task as they convene on Monday for the 2017 legislative session: how to fully fund public schools by 2018. And that job might have just gotten harder.

Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark announced Tuesday he will deny a sublease request for the coal export project proposed in Longview and expand an aquatic reserve at Cherry Point in Puget Sound where another coal terminal was proposed.

Goldmark, who is leaving his post this month when his term expires, says he doesn’t have a position on coal exports.

Idaho Legislator Takes Lessons Into Second Term

Jan 3, 2017
Credit Idaho state legislature


Many first-time elected officials go into office with plans to push for major changes they promised during their campaigns. Then their experience in office leads them to moderate their views. For others whose ideas were more mainstream, the evolution as an elected official is more nuanced.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is looking for a new chief of staff heading into the 2017 legislative session. The governor's office announced Tuesday that Kristen Leonard will resign at the end of January.

Low temperatures, snow drifts, and northeasterly winds east of the Cascades are making things difficult for Northwest ranchers and dairy owners. They are struggling to keep their animals hydrated, fed and warm.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / FLICKR Creative Commons

Millions of U.S. workers will get a raise on New Year's Day, as more than a dozen states increase their minimum wage. That includes thousands of people across Washington.

Associated Press / AP Images

It’s been one year since a group of armed occupiers took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County.  Last January, Ammon Bundy climbed onto a snowbank outside the Safeway grocery store in Burns and declared his intention to take over a bird sanctuary in Oregon’s remote high desert.

Montana resident Ryan Payne was one of the first people to travel to Harney County earlier this year to help Ammon Bundy take over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

He was also one of the first to plead guilty in the case.

Despite a monthslong effort to withdraw that plea, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown said Wednesday that Payne will have to honor his agreement.

Washington ‘Faithless’ Electors Facing $1,000 Fines

Dec 29, 2016

The four members of Washington's electoral college who voted for people other than Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine earlier this month will each be fined $1,000.

Two people were killed in separate traffic crashes in Oregon Tuesday. That means 2016 is now the deadliest year on Oregon's roads in more than a decade.

The new year means a new slate of 18 laws will take effect in Oregon. That's a relatively small number because the 2016 legislative session was just five weeks long. Most of the bills that were passed during the session have taken effect already.

Oregon will soon have its first Republican secretary of state in more than three decades. Dennis Richardson is set to take the oath of office on Friday.

The rainiest fall on record in parts of eastern Oregon and Washington was good for keeping late-season wildfires at bay, but torrential rains wreaked havoc on some timber harvesters in the Northwest.

Marijuana growers use a lot of pesticides — especially when these mildew- and mite-sensitive plants are grown indoors.

But a growing number of farmers and shops are trying to give their customers a satisfying cannabis high without the downer of pesticide-related environmental or health risks.

Johnny Vanella is among them. At the JV Ranch outside Goldendale, Washington, he harvested his first organically grown cannabis crop this fall.

This story is the first in a two-part report on conditions at mobile home parks in the U.S. Today's piece focuses on what happens when corporate park owners fail to take care of their communities. The second story looks at what happens when residents are able to take ownership over their community. Read part two here.

The Federal Railroad Administration is requiring Union Pacific railroad to increase its inspections and the quality of its track maintenance.

The agreement announced Friday comes in response to a fiery oil train derailment in June in the Columbia River Gorge.

Under the agreement, Union Pacific will need to increase track inspections to twice per week.

A Nativity scene that appeared without fanfare at the Washington State Capitol early this week has now drawn protest. An atheist/agnostic group installed a counter display Friday on the public Capitol Grounds.