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.

Oregon taxpayers who file returns as soon as possible in order to claim a refund may have to wait longer to get their cash in 2017. The Oregon Department of Revenue says it will hold onto state income tax refunds until February 15.

Diane Rehm is wrapping up a public radio career spanning more than four decades and thousands of episodes. Her talk show has originated at Washington, D.C.'s WAMU and is heard by nearly 3 million people across the country weekly on NPR stations.

Yet The Diane Rehm Show almost didn't get off the ground.

In 1979, Rehm started as a host with a program aimed at homemakers. Several years later, she informed her boss that she had other plans.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has pardoned three men for crimes they committed more than two decades ago. The pardons are Brown's first since taking office and remove criminal convictions from the men's records.

“Although clemency is appropriate only in rare cases, these applicants have distinguished themselves by learning from past mistakes and committing themselves to serving their communities," Brown said in a release.

Bryan Hockaday, a spokesman for the governor, said executive clemency is something Brown takes “very seriously.”

Uber and Lyft are gradually expanding their coverage in the Pacific Northwest beyond the major metro areas. Uber launched its smartphone ride-booking service in Kennewick and Yakima, Washington, last week and similar-sized Oregon cities may get their shot in 2017.

The face of Washington state government is about to get a makeover. Five new statewide elected officials will take office in January -- a record in modern times.

Unlucky crewmembers stranded on two big container ships of the bankrupt Hanjin line won't be home for Christmas, but that didn't mean the Christmas spirit bypassed them this week. The ships are being held indefinitely in the vicinity of Victoria at the behest of creditors.

A University of Oregon Law Professor has been found to have violated the school’s policy against discrimination when she wore blackface for a Halloween costume. The UO released a report on the incident Wednesday.

After Oregon voters approved recreational marijuana use for adults in 2014, there was no place to legally buy it until October of the following year. That's when a law kicked in that allowed dispensaries to sell to people without medical marijuana cards.

Oregon remains on track to gain a sixth congressional district in 2020, according to an analysis of new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday.

“If we take those estimates and project them to 2020, we can then see what things might look like in four years,” said Kimball Brace, president of political consulting firm Election Data Services.

“At that point in time, Oregon is still secure in gaining its additional seat.”

Congressional districts are based on the U.S. Census, which is taken every decade. The next census will be done in 2020.

New Idaho Legislator Prepares to Govern

Dec 20, 2016

When Idaho legislators begin their 2017 session next month, their numbers will include 14 new representatives and four new senators. Only one of those 18 serves in the districts that cover the state’s five northernmost counties.

The Washington State Patrol is cracking down on drunk drivers for the holidays.

Several Northwest tribes are meeting this week with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and with the Washington state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation to discuss the imminent reburial of the Ancient One, or Kennewick Man.

Oregon's agency devoted to economic development should provide more transparency about how its incentives are being used. That's one of the findings of an audit of Business Oregon released Monday by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

A failed energy substation caused the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant to have to power down Sunday. Bonneville Power Administration officials are still investigating why it went offline, but it might be related to very cold weather.

They may not change history. But four Washington electors made history Monday when they broke ranks and voted for alternative candidates for president and vice president. This hasn’t happened in Washington in 40 years.

Meanwhile, all seven of Oregon’s Electoral College votes went to Hillary Clinton. Clinton easily won each state’s popular vote last month.

Monday is the day when members of the Electoral College cast their votes for president. It's usually a routine event, but this year's political turmoil means the voting is getting extra attention.

The agency in charge of managing Oregon's water resources is being stretched to the limit. That's one of the findings in a new audit from the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

As the Seattle Seahawks played the L.A. Rams Thursday night, a Washington state lawmaker defended his proposal to allow concealed pistols at stadium events.

Associated Press / AP Images

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced plans to create a new department focusing on at-risk families and children. The Department of Children, Youth and Families, as the agency will be called, will provide services currently overseen by Social and Health Services.

A vacant seat in the Oregon Senate will soon belong to James Manning, an African-American Army veteran from Eugene. The Lane County Board of Commissioners made the selection Wednesday.

Every winter, listeners like you send fantastic photos to our Tumblr page, capturing some of the most beautiful cold-weather vistas of the Northwest. Click the slideshow above and join us in celebrating Northwest winter, from frozen mountains to snowy hills.

A coroner’s inquest this week cleared the three Pasco police officers who shot a farmworker in February 2015. The Franklin County Coroner has fought for nearly two years to hold the examination into the facts of the death.

Second Malheur Trial Will Happen In February

Dec 14, 2016
Associated Press / AP Images

U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown ruled Wednesday that a second round of defendants who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge will go to trial February 14th. She denied a motion by the government to delay the trial, pushing it back 60 days.

An investigation into a rare birth defect affecting babies in Eastern Washington has come to an end. The findings have left more questions than answers. Disease clusters are notoriously hard to investigate. That proved to be the case for a fatal birth defect in three Eastern Washington counties.

Law enforcement officers in Oregon would be required to collect data on the race, ethnicity, age and sex of people they pull over under a measure proposed Wednesday by the Oregon Department of Justice.

The idea is the result of a task force created to find ways to eliminate law enforcement profiling.

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines has closed the deal to take over West Coast rival Virgin America. The combined carrier will become the nation's fifth-largest airline.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants to make sweeping changes to the state’s mental health system. The Democrat Wednesday proposed a six-year plan to downsize the state’s two mental hospitals.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

President-elect Donald Trump has apparently passed over Cathy McMorris Rodgers as his pick for Interior Secretary. The Washington state congresswoman posted a vague statement on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley has been dealt a setback by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel Tuesday declined to hear Kelley’s claim of double jeopardy.

Washington’s youngest state lawmaker is defending herself against ethics charges related to her social media practices. Republican Melanie Stambaugh appeared Tuesday before the Legislative Ethics Board.

Pages