Pacific Northwest

The scrambled state of the presidential nominating contest makes it more likely that Northwest states will be relevant when our time comes to vote. That starts in less than four weeks with the Idaho Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, March 8.

Andrew Moore / Creative Commons

U.S. Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced a key step Friday in completing a 1,200 mile trail from Glacier National Park to the Pacific Ocean. Hikers already use what's called the "Pacific Northwest Trail," but it has gaps, and isn't fully built out.

Congressman Calls For Earthquake Warning System For NW

Jul 28, 2015
U.S. Geological Survey

Oregon's Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced a bill Tuesday to fund an earthquake early warning system for the Pacific Northwest.

How Ocean Acidification May Harm The Northwest Economy

Feb 23, 2015
ClaryRain / Flickr

A new study has found the Pacific Northwest faces a higher risk of economic harm from ocean acidification than other parts of the country.

When excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed into the ocean, it triggers changes in ocean chemistry that makes it harder for mollusks to build shells.

The study is the first to look at which regions are most vulnerable to the damage acidic water can do to shellfish.

George Waldbusser of Oregon State University is a co-author of the study.

Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association

Some of the world’s largest Christmas tree farms are right here in the Northwest. Some are harvesting about 20,000 trees a day. The average Christmas tree might be a bit more expensive this year.

Here's why.

A stronger economy and several years of cutbacks on plantings in the Northwest have upped prices this year. Like a few dollars per tree for the farmer.

Bryan Ostlund heads the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association in Salem, Oregon.

Andy Maguire / Flickr

The new federal budget sent to the president's desk over the weekend included $5 million for an earthquake early warning along the West Coast. 

The proposed early warning system can't predict earthquakes. It's designed to give a heads up about strong shaking coming from a distance. It has worked because electronic signals can travel faster than rumbling over the surface.

Depending on how close you are to the epicenter, U.S. Geological Service geophysicist Doug Given said you could get an alert anywhere between ten seconds to a minute in advance.

Amelia Templeton

Scientists say whitebark pines are one of the Northwest’s most iconic and ecologically important trees — the majority of which are found in rugged wilderness. /

There’s no need to roam too far from home to have a great summer vacation. The Northwest has many beautiful state parks for you to visit. The Northwest alone is home to more than 400 city, state and national parks! Here are just five Northwest state parks you’re going to want to check out.

1. Hells Gate State Park

Nick Bond

"The Blob" was the title of a 1958 sci-fi horror movie. It's also the nickname the Washington State Climatologist has given to a large patch of warmer than normal seawater off the Pacific Northwest Coast. This "blob" is unlikely to become the subject of another movie, but it will influence our summer weather.

FlickrLickr / Wikimedia Commons

Northwesterners love their diesel pickups. A new report by a diesel industry group shows Oregon and Idaho are in the top ten when it comes to highest rates of diesel vehicle ownership in the nation. But the overall rate pales in comparison to other parts of the world. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Washington Incident Management Team #2 / InciWeb

Workers in the Tri-Cities, Wash. area got notice Wednesday of tinder-dry conditions at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and were advised to practice fire safety at work and at home. It’s about four weeks ahead of schedule for these types of fire-weather alerts and a sign of a long, hot summer ahead.

How To Remove A Tick - And Why A Hot Match Won’t Work

May 23, 2014
Washington State Department of Health

Memorial Day weekend in the Northwest coincides with prime time for ticks. These arthropods can drink your blood for days without you knowing.

NOAA Climate Prediction Center

The supercomputers at the Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center have crunched long-term trends to produce an outlook for June, July and August. For most of the Northwest, the forecast gives a strong probability of above-normal temperatures. 

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Northwest sweet cherry growers say this season they'll likely pick their third-largest haul ever. That's 20 million boxes full. But there’s plenty that can happen to cherries even the day of harvest.

Peggy Greb / USDA

The number of farms in the Northwest is dropping. That's according to newly released federal farm data. But there's more to the story. The average size and value of Northwest farms are going up.

Cacophany / Wikimedia

Republican strategists are eyeing state legislatures this year in hopes of taking more control of the legislative process. But political analysts don't expect major changes in northwest statehouses.

First Bitcoin ATM In US Northwest

May 2, 2014
Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The world's first bitcoin ATM launched last year in Vancouver, Canada. Now there's also a physical place in the U.S. Northwest to buy and sell the virtual currency. A bitcoin ATM was just installed inside the entrance of a Seattle sports bar popular with tech workers. It is at the Spitfire Grill in the Belltown neighborhood.

Kasper Sorensen / Flickr

Scientists have found mercury in fish caught in some of the most remote water bodies of the West. Mercury is a neurotoxin that is especially harmful to pregnant women and children.

A new study looked at mercury levels in fish sampled from 21 national parks around the West.

Higher Nitrate Air Pollution In Central Wash.

Apr 11, 2014

Researchers have found the source of an unusual pocket of air pollution in central Washington. Tiny particles from large agricultural operations mix with vehicle exhaust. That creates nitrate pollution.

Courtesy of Stuart Boersma

Code language is probably as old as language itself. Now, two Northwest university professors have launched a competition to test students’ code-breaking skills. The brain game starts April 10. 

Nuclear Power Plant Safety Report

Mar 7, 2014
Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Flickr

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists says the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant reported three safety problems in 2013. Officials at the plant say they’ve been on top of the issues.

Albertsons To Merge With Safeway Stores

Mar 6, 2014
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Northwest News Network

The Boise-based grocery store Albertsons is merging with Safeway supermarkets. The companies announced Thursday the acquisition could be worth more than $9 billion.

Water behind the Wanapum Dam near Vantage, Wash., is being drawn down 26 feet to relieve pressure on the big crack in the structure.

Chantal Andrea

Amidst the debate over the now-vetoed Arizona bill that would have protected businesses that refuse to serve gays and others for religious reasons, gay rights groups in the Northwest say similar legislation could surface here.

2013: A Good Year For West Coast Log And Lumber Exports

Feb 24, 2014
Sean Mack / Wikimedia Commons

Lumber and log exports from the West Coast rose about 20 percent last year, with demand peaking in the fourth quarter.

Most of the West Coast logs shipped overseas are going to China, although Japan has upped its demand, as well. With limited forestlands of their own, these countries rely on the United States’ timber supply.

Oregon lawmakers will take a rare snow day Friday. The wintry forecast prompted legislative leaders to cancel all hearings and floor sessions for the day.

It's every Olympic athlete's worst nightmare: After years of preparation, training and fundraising, an accident mere weeks before the Olympic Games derails everything.

The Northwest contribution to the U.S. Olympic team goes beyond athletes. A bunch of top coaches, ski tuners, wax technicians and physical therapists from here are Sochi-bound too.

Northwest Talent Sliding into Sochi

Jan 22, 2014
Tom Banse

It's looking more and more like Northwest athletes will be unusually well represented at the Winter Olympics in Russia next month. The U.S. Olympic Nordic team was named Wednesday. Half of the 14 selected cross country skiers have Northwest ties. 

Dominio Público / Wikimedia Commons

New legislation could put 126,000 acres of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula into permanent conservation.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray introduced the Wild Olympics Act on Friday. It’s a chunk of national forest land almost as big as the city of Chicago. The Act would also provide protection for 19 rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.