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.

During a public hearing Tuesday, businesses said on a proposed carbon tax in Washington state would cost jobs and hurt the state’s economy.

Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz said 2.7 million acres of state land is in poor health and some of that is at risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Amelia Templeton / Oregon Public Broadcasting

The West Coast is on track for a meager and potentially disastrous salmon season. Fishery managers today/Monday proposed closures and severe cutbacks protect a record-low run of Klamath River fish.

Rachael McDonald / KLCC

Petroleum industry groups have joined the Trump Administration in seeking appeal of a climate change lawsuit that’s set to go to trial next fall. The suit was brought against the federal government by 21 youth plaintiffs.

The Northwest has had above-average snowpack and rain in many areas this winter. That’s good -- it’s wiped out drought. But all that water has wildland fire managers concerned about the terrain’s greening cheatgrass.

Jurors Convict Malheur Defendants in 2nd Trial

Mar 10, 2017
Ryan Haas / OPB

A federal jury has convicted occupiers Jason Patrick and Darryl Thorn on felony conspiracy charges for their roles in last year’s armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Defendants Duane Ehmer and Jake Ryan were acquitted of conspiracy, but convicted on lesser charges.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is seeking the resignations of 46 United States attorneys who were appointed during President Obama’s administration. But Oregon's top prosecutor says that does not affect him.

A newly implemented fee for drivers near Puget Sound sent shockwaves through the region, after people renewing their car-tabs found out how much it would cost. Friday, some lawmakers in Olympia announced how they plan to ease the pressure of new prices.

The report cards are in and it's not pretty if you worry about how you'll fare after a magnitude 9 Cascadia megaquake and tsunami. Washington and Oregon's emergency management divisions have now published after-action reviews of last June's multi-state disaster drill called Cascadia Rising .

Gun rights advocates are declaring victory after several firearms-related measures failed to advance in the Washington Legislature. But gun control advocates say they see momentum on their side.

The next generation of cell technology will feature smaller antennas in more places and will eventually lead to 5G connectivity. Wireless carriers are pushing legislation in Washington state to give them access to power poles, street lights and other public infrastructure for placement of the small antennas.

But this has created a fight with cities.

The mortgage interest tax deduction collectively saves Oregonians about a $500 million per year on their state income taxes. But Oregon lawmakers are considering scaling it back.

The measure under consideration would still allow the deduction for many taxpayers but would end it for higher income households.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said thousands of people’s health coverage would be in jeopardy under the federal government’s Affordable Care Act replacement. In a meeting with the press Thursday, he expressed concern over the proposal, claiming it would cut benefits and increase costs.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

 

The state will continue to press its legal case against President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today.

No matter how frustrated you might be with any given election, don’t batter the ballot drop boxes in Washington state. Lawmakers in both chambers of the legislature passed bills Wednesday with hopes of protecting the boxes many voters use to submit their ballots.

An Oregon agency is proposing two new earthquake proof buildings near the state Capitol in Salem to ensure government continuity after a Magnitude 9 offshore mega quake. The state buildings would have solar power and backup generators, independent water and sewage systems, and shock absorbers under the foundation.

Washington state school districts will not go over the so-called “levy cliff.” At least not next year. The state House Thursday sent the governor a bipartisan measure to extend current levy capacity for another year.

Brian Moen / Creative Commons

The Northwest is home to many of the world’s most popular apples. But it also has apples many believed no longer exist. On eastern Washington’s Steptoe Butte, researchers found two apple varieties they thought extinct, the Spokesman Review reports.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Washington school districts are breathing a collective sigh of relief. The state Senate voted Wednesday night to delay the so-called "levy cliff" for another year. Democrat Andy Billig of Spokane said the move would bring certainty to school districts planning next year's budget.

On International Women’s Day, some women walked out of their workspaces or wore the color red in solidarity. Women in the Washington Senate showed off their scarlet themed wardrobes, but didn’t travel too far. Instead, they helped pass legislation supporting pregnant working women in Washington.

Associated Press / AP Images

The Tacoma City Council has voted to temporarily ban new or expanded correctional facilities across the city. This includes the privately-owned Northwest Detention Center. The measure is in place for six months, while the council works on permanent regulations. 

King County Releases Findings On Sewage Plant Failure

Mar 8, 2017
Des Runyan / FLICKR Creative Commons

On Tuesday, King County released preliminary findings of what went wrong at the West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. This February, an electrical failure there caused flooding and a massive dump of sewage into Puget Sound.

Associated Press / AP Images

A so-called ‘dreamer’ recently arrested near Seattle will remain in immigration detention. A federal judge says he’ll make a decision early next week about whether to release Daniel Ramirez Medina from a Tacoma lockup.

Ramirez claims his arrest violated his constitutional rights. Because at the time, he had lawful status in the country through the DACA program.

Mark Rosenbaum is one of Ramirez’s attorneys. He says this case is asking the court to clarify the broader rights of all DACA recipients.

Port Of Vancouver Extends Oil Terminal Lease

Mar 8, 2017

A Vancouver project to build the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the country will continue for now. After a contentious meeting Tuesday filled with passionate testimony, Port of Vancouver commissioners approved a lease extension for the controversial project.

The standing-room-only meeting went on for more than three hours. People lined up as early as 8:30 in the morning to sign up for public comment. Many sat in an overflow room, waiting to testify.

Eastern Oregon Wolf Recovery Enters Next Phase

Mar 8, 2017

There’s good news and bad news for wolves in eastern Oregon. The good news: they just hit another population milestone, showing the recovery effort is working.

The bad news for the predators? It’s getting a little bit easier for humans to kill them.

Oregon wildlife officials have counted at least seven breeding pairs of wolves for three straight years in the eastern part of the state. This indicates a degree of stability in that wolf population. It also triggers a change to how wolves are managed in the region.

WSDOT / FLICKR

Last year, gun violence shook communities in Marysville and on Whidbey Island, Washington. Some lawmakers in Olympia said it was the result of inadequate mental health resources.

West Coast energy regulators met Tuesday in Seattle to renew their pledge to join forces in reducing the region's shared carbon footprint.

The chairs of the Washington, Oregon and California utility commissions cited as one of their goals the improved integration of the West Coast's power grids.

Washington's peak energy draw happens when people turn up their thermostats in the winter. Meanwhile, Californians' heavy reliance power is during the summer, when air conditioners are running, said Dave Danner, chair of the Utilities Commission of Washington.

Work place deaths jumped close to 50 percent in Oregon last year. The new state numbers prompted one expert to say he’d failed. 

Lawmakers in Salem and Olympia are debating measures intended to crack down on distracted driving.

Alan Stanton / Flickr

It’s been a tough winter for the Northwest. For some places, it was the coldest winter in decades. There was plenty of snow and rain and a cycle of thawing and freezing. That adds up to some serious road damage - potholes, rough surfaces and washed out roads.

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