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.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins says she was "taken aback" by the amount of misinformation that surrounded surrounding Oregon's recent election process.

James Mattis is a retired Marine general and a military history fellow at Stanford -- and Donald Trump picked him for secretary of Defense. When Mattis is not on the road, he’s at his mother’s house in Richland, Washington.

Life At A Post-War Nuclear Weapons Factory

Dec 2, 2016

Seth Ellingsworth figured he was set for life. He was 22 and had just landed a coveted factory job in the company town he’d grown up in.

“I thought it was the greatest thing ever,” he said. “The place where people in the area worked that did well, I got a job there. I was really proud that I was a part of it.”

Now, at 35, Ellingsworth spends most days beset by tremors, struggling for oxygen, frequently confined to the ground floor of his home in Richland, Washington. It’s just outside his former place of work: the Hanford Nuclear Site.

The Olympic Peninsula was Charles Nelson’s best medicine.

The Army veteran had served during 1990s conflicts in Somalia and Kuwait before returning home to Seattle. Nelson couldn’t cope with daily life as a civilian. Something as common as an unexpected car-door slam gave him a shiver of fear. Doctors diagnosed him with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

He joined a group of veterans who took weekly hikes deep into the rainforest.

“It was better therapy for me than anything else I’ve really been through,” Nelson said.

Paul Fishman spots a rusty chunk of metal jutting out of the riverbank on Portland’s South Waterfront.

“Ah-ha!" he said. “Here’s a piece of ship’s hull."

The piece came from a World War II ship – one of the few signs of the post-war industry that used to be here.

During World War II, the site was one of several Willamette River shipyards devoted to building military vessels. But when victory made all those warships obsolete, this stretch of the waterfront became the scrapyard where many of those ships were torn apart.

Growing up, Paul Skirvin milked a lot of cows.

“Dad went and borrowed the money,” he says. “And before we was through milking cows, we was milking about 60 head.”

This was outside of Portland in the 1930s and '40s. Skirvin was too young to fight in World War II. Soon after it ended he received a quick lesson in economics when he and his brother were hired to log off their neighbor’s land.

“We milked those cows all month and about the same as we’d make in a week logging.” he says.

Feral pigs are a problem in 39 U.S. states and the Northwest is not immune. That’s why officials from four Washington agencies issued a reminder to residents last week to be on the lookout.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown rolled out a two-year spending plan Thursday at the State Capitol. The proposal tackles a $1.7 billion budget shortfall with a mix of program cuts and tax hikes.

A few weeks before the election, the Tri-Pro lumber mill in north Idaho shut down. It was the second mill to close in the area in six months, putting more than a hundred people out of work.

While that's big economic loss for any community, it was especially tough for the tight-knit town of Orofino and its 3,000 or so residents.

Police across the Northwest and the country are mourning the shooting death of Tacoma police officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. He was a 17-year veteran of the department. His death is also having an effect on police recruits.

www.climate.gov/enso / NOAA

Meteorologists say this winter is likely to be slightly colder than average because we are in a weak La Nina year. Some years there are very clear signs if it will be a La Nina or El Nino. Sometimes the signals are conflicting and aren’t easy to interpret.

Authorities say the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Tacoma, Washington, police officer has been shot and killed by officers after a lengthy barricade situation.

Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer says the suspect was shot at approximately 3:30 a.m. Thursday, ending an 11-hour standoff. The suspect has not been identified.

Troyer says a girl and a boy, have been found unharmed, and have been taken from the house. He says officers found multiple weapons in the house.

Oregon State Audit Finds Cybersecurity Risks

Nov 30, 2016
sos.oregon.gov

An audit released Wednesday shows significant cyber security lapses in Oregon government agencies. The Secretary of State’s office found some agencies don’t even have a digital security plan. Those that do are underfunded, understaffed or use outdated software.

Tech. Sgt. Samuel Morse / Wikimedia Commons

The Navy has just been granted permits to expand its jet training flights over Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The Forest Service announced its decision to allow the Navy to conduct electromagnetic warfare training in Olympic National Forest.

Associated Press / AP Images

The sign up period for the Washington State Health plan is underway, and a spokesman says despite plans by the Trump administration to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, it’s very unlikely coverage will change in 2017, or even the following year.

Small businesses outside Seattle are preparing for a higher minimum wage starting in January.
Voters approved an increase in the state minimum to $13.50 over four years.The change is already having unintended consequences.

Mark Klotz / FLICKR Creative Commons

As the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline wears on in North Dakota, the Canadian government approved a much larger pipeline project that will affect Puget Sound and the Salish Sea.

Home prices in the Seattle and Portland metro areas are rising faster than anywhere else in the country right now -- about twice as fast as the national average.

In 2014, Washington’s Medicaid program resumed covering dental care for adults. That was celebrated by advocates for the poor. But on Thursday, a panel of lawmakers will hear about ongoing challenges to that program.

Mer Change / FLICKR

The World Trade Organization says a corporate tax break that Governor Jay Inslee championed three years ago is illegal.

Jon Ditgen

The first major snowstorm of the holiday season is a gift to businesses across the Oregon Cascades.

With up to 20 inches of snow recorded in many parts of the range, ski resorts, tourist shops, and other recreational and lodging businesses have opened with high hopes.

Liam Moriarty / Jefferson Public Radio

The recent election saw California and three other states join Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska in legalizing recreational use of marijuana. Three more states voted for medical cannabis, as well.

For more than half a century, dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers have been taken for granted as a permanent part of the landscape. The four dams on the lower Snake River provide hydropower and navigation to the West Coast’s most inland port -- in Lewiston, Idaho. They’ve also proven detrimental to threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.

Now, a longstanding debate — removing or altering the four lower Snake River dams — is back at the forefront of a discussion on how to protect fish while still doing what’s best for all interests along the Columbia and Snake rivers.

On election night, did you already have a bad feeling about your family Thanksgiving? One Northwest brother and sister did. Jessica Brady and Jeremy Holmes both voted for Hillary Clinton. Their parents didn’t.

Washington jails are old, crowded and holding people who are disabled, mentally ill and often haven’t yet been convicted of a crime. County jails are often the first stop for people who enter the criminal justice system.

West Coast Progressives Wary Of Trump Presidency

Nov 22, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on cutting federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officers.
 
Since the election, mayors up and down the West Coast have said they’ll continue to support immigrants who are in the country illegally. The region could also clash with the incoming administration over climate change and recreational marijuana.

Todd Donnovan is a political science professor at Western Washington University.

Over the summer, wildlife managers killed seven wolves in the Profanity Peak pack in northeast Washington. The wolves had been preying on cattle grazing on the Colville National Forest. Under Washington’s wolf management plan, the trigger for so-called “lethal action” is when a wolf pack attacks livestock four or more times in a year.

With Thanksgiving on the mind of most people this week, a new report shows the number of Oregonians who aren't sure where their next meal is coming from continues to rise.

Many Oregon motels are sold out and reservable campsites are going fast for an event that doesn't happen until the second half of next year. If you don't want to miss a total solar eclipse, mark August 21, 2017 on your calendar.

 

A judge in Thurston County has fined an activist group from Iowa for secretly funneling money into a Washington state election. The group Food Democracy Action! concealed $300,000 in contributions for a ballot measure to label genetically modified foods three years ago. 

The group did not disclose the names of its donors until after the 2013 election. 

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