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 Oregon House narrowly voted Tuesday to ban most no-cause evictions and to allow cities to pass local rent control ordinances.

Monday night's national title game was expected to be a fast-paced, competitive showcase for North Carolina forward Justin Jackson and Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, two of the best players in college this season.

It was certainly competitive, but with both teams' tough defenses locking up the main offensive options, the game turned into a foul-laden slog rather than a shootout. The Tar Heels were able to pin their opponent in the end, 71-65, winning the school's sixth national title.

The Oregon House could vote as soon as Tuesday on a measure that would ban most no-cause evictions in the state.

Federal Government Turns Down Idaho Disaster Request

Apr 3, 2017
Associated Press / AP Images

Idaho Governor Butch Otter says the federal government has turned down his request for federal disaster funds to help the state rebuild after late winter flooding.

The governors of Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska have written a joint letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking for forbearance with their marijuana policy experiments.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington lawmakers are working this year to craft a solution to the state’s school funding crisis. Much of their work is happening behind the scenes and in closed door meetings. So who’s in those meetings and who’s trying to influence the outcome? The top four leaders of the legislature denied a public records request to see their emails and calendars. 

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

For the first time, Gonzaga University could bring the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship trophy home to Spokane. The Bulldogs beat the South Carolina Gamecocks 77-73 in Phoenix Saturday in the semifinal round of the Final Four.

Oregon Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has officially declared today “Cesar Chavez Day."  Immigrant rights and farm worker groups are holding marches through the weekend to honor the famed Latino activist, and to protest President Trump’s immigration policies. 

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says initiative promoter Tim Eyman violated campaign finance laws for personal gain. Ferguson filed a lawsuit Friday against Eyman and a signature-gathering firm he worked closely with. 

Clint Thompson/University of Georgia / Flickr

 

Environmental groups and small farmers say they will continue to fight a mega-dairy in Eastern Oregon that received a key permit. They say the dairy will harm water and air quality in the region. 

Members of the Oregon congressional delegation are co-sponsoring a bill that would limit areas where federal immigration enforcement can take place.

Debating The Future Of Snake River Dams

Mar 31, 2017
Public domain

Pro-dam and pro-breach panelists debated the future of Snake River dams earlier this week at Washington State University. Both sides refuted each other’s facts, leaving the panel unable to find common ground.

                                                                                                                      

OPB / EarthFix

This week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown fired three members of the state’s Environmental Quality Commission. The firings come less than a month after the commission chose a new director for the Department of Environmental Quality, Richard Whitman.

Gas stations in eastern Oregon could offer self-service gas around the clock under a measure that passed the Oregon House 56-0 Thursday. For decades, Oregon and New Jersey were the only states that banned most drivers from pumping their own fuel. Two years ago, Oregon lawmakers backed away from that ban, but only for rural counties and only at night. The idea was to prevent drivers from getting stranded in a small town where the only station had closed for the day. The new law would allow those rural stations to offer self-serve around the clock.

Wikipedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

Federal immigration agents arrested 84 people in a Northwest sweep this past weekend. Most were in Washington state and had criminal convictions.

Associated Press / AP Images

The City of Seattle has filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration, to combat an executive order condemning so-called “sanctuary cities.” Mayor Ed Murray and city attorney Pete Holmes held a press conference to discuss the legal action. Murray wants the courts to declare the President’s order unconstitutional, and disrupt what he calls a climate of fear.

ICE Detains Portland 'Dreamer' Recovering From Car Accident

Mar 29, 2017

Spanish version (versión en español): ICE Detiene A ‘Dreamer’ De Portland Quien Se Recuperaba De Un Accidente Automovilístico

A 21-year-old Portland man who was hit by a car in January, and is recovering from having both his legs broken, has been detained by federal immigration authorities.

Emmanuel Ayala Frutos is from Mexico and has lived in Portland since the age of six, according to the ACLU of Oregon.

Alaska Airlines executives say the integration of former rival Virgin America is proceeding on track. Parent company Alaska Air Group updated Wall Street analysts on the merger at an "Investor Day" briefing in New York City Wednesday.

Since 2011, Washington’s prison system has deported 339 convicted felons instead of locking them up. The deportations are part of a voluntary program designed to reduce prison costs.

Kobe beef is supposedly the finest steak in the world. It’s very hard to get -- and very expensive -- in the United States. But it's getting easier and easier these days to find more affordable “American style Kobe beef" or “American Wagyu” at your neighborhood steak house or upscale grocery.

Canyon Mansfield and his dog were walking the ridge line near his house in Pocatello, Idaho, when the 14-year-old spotted a curious device that looked like a sprinkler nestled in the ground.

Port of Vancouver commissioner Brian Wolfe announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election this fall. He’s vacating his seat after nearly 12 years on the job.

Wolfe said he’ll be stepping down at the end of this year to spend more time with his wife.

Wolfe has supported a massive oil-by-rail project proposed for the port. He said increased pressure from opponents of the oil terminal have been taxing on him and his family.

Cassandra Profita / OPB

The 82,500-acre Elliott State Forest in southwestern Oregon may be staying in public hands after all. Treasurer Tobias Read, who cast a crucial vote last month to proceed with the sale, announced Tuesday that he sees a "path forward" for keeping the forest in public hands.

JT / Flickr

President Trump signed an executive order beginning the process of throwing out the Clean Power Plan. The Obama-era rule was meant to limit greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel electricity production. The governors of Oregon and Washington said this won’t deter them from pursuing regional goals to reduce emissions.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Images

President Trump’s move to undo President Obama’s Clean Power Plan could make it easier for power plants to keep burning coal. But the Northwest’s biggest coal user still plans to cut back on the dirtiest fuel.

DHS Report Raises Questions About Child Protections

Mar 28, 2017
Garry Knight / Flickr

An internal report by the Oregon Department of Human Services found a number of problems in the way the state investigates cases of child abuse. DHS reviewed about 100 cases in counties around the state. In nearly half of them, the reviewer did not agree with the case worker’s conclusion that the children were safe.

Kevin Mooney / Northwest News Network

Sixteen-year-olds in Oregon could soon be registered to vote under a bill the state senate passed today. These teens would still have to wait until they are 18 before they could cast a ballot. But supporters say the measure would help increase turnout among younger voters.

On the northern panhandle of Idaho, the Kootenai River’s endangered white sturgeon are getting help from scientists who are “listening” to the river. A U.S. Geological Survey team is using soundwaves to learn how sediment is building up and affecting the fish’s ability to reproduce.

Every river has sediment. It’s the sand, gravel and general muck that rolls along with the current. Sediment can be both good and bad for a river.

A judge has ordered federal agencies to spill more water over Columbia and Snake river dams to help threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead, though not until next year after testing.

EcologyWA / Flickr

The source of a mysterious sheen on the Columbia River has been found, nearly 10 days after its initial discovery.

The Washington Department of Ecology released a statement Monday, saying leaking underground pipes caused a biodiesel spill near Wenatchee.

Rob Walls from the department’s response team says the size of the leak is unknown.

“You know, we need to kind of do a lot of calculations to figure out what exactly was released to the river," Walls said. "For me I would call this a moderate, moderate event, because there are so many unknowns still to find.”

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