Washington

Mary Randlett

It started with the discovery of long-forgotten gravestones in a thicket of bramble and alder. That set one author on the faint trail of a feisty Native American woman and oyster farmer who lived in 19th century western Washington. The biographer is using the resulting book to inspire other Northwesterners - particularly tribal members. She wants to bring out the stories of people who, in her words, have been "left out of our histories." Correspondent Tom Banse reports from Oyster Bay in Mason County, Washington.

One of the victims of an alleged crowdfunding scam says he’s not counting on getting his money back. But he’s glad Washington’s attorney general has filed a consumer protection lawsuit. It’s believed to be the first state action against a crowdfunding project sponsor. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has details.

Cassandra Profita / EarthFix

Students around the Northwest go to school every day in portable classrooms. These classrooms are an affordable solution to budget-strapped districts that need more space. But they can be bad for student health and performance. That’s why some districts are moving away from portable classrooms.

One district in Spokane has found a solution.

Courtney Flatt brings us part 2 of our special series "Inside the Box."

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

There’s a lot of debate these days about unlimited money in politics - and whether it corrupts the process. But does it matter who’s giving the money? And what their motivation is? In Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee has found a wealthy partner in his fight to combat global climate change. He’s California hedge fund founder Tom Steyer – a man the L.A. Times says may be the “liberals’ answer” to the conservative billionaire Koch brothers. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports on Inslee’s connection to this out-of-state billionaire.

Austin Jenkins

The Washington legislature is trending a bit younger these day.  Nine of the 147 members are under-34 year olds. 

Jessica Robbinson

A new Gallup poll reveals how many people prefer to be in a different state, given the chance. Overall, the Northwest has a pretty loyal crowd. Oregonians, in particular, are quite happy where they are. But the poll finds a high rate of Idahoans planning their goodbyes.

This June, Cat Wiechmann is finishing up her Master's in wetland ecology at the University of Idaho in Moscow. But instead of staying put, she’s heading to Pueblo, Colorado, for a university position there.

Hal McCune, URS

The Umatilla Chemical Depot is nearing final cleanup. It letting go of 60 more workers Thursday. The northeast Oregon military site is where tons of deadly chemical weapons were stored for decades. 

Washington’s minimum wage would rise to $12 per hour by 2017 under a proposal from Democrats in the state House.

New numbers for December from the Washington state employment department peg the current jobless rate at 6.6 percent. The last time it was lower was in November 2008.

Federal securities regulators recently cleared the way for small, Kickerstarter-style campaigns for startups to sell shares. But many entrepreneurs view the federal process as too cumbersome. Now, Washington state lawmakers are contemplating a state-only version to help small businesses raise capital more easily. 

Washington Governor Calls State Tax System 'Old Jalopy'

Dec 17, 2013
Thomas Sorenes / Wikimedia

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the state’s tax system is outdated and insufficient to cover expenses. The Democrat made his comments Tuesday at the release of his proposed update to Washington’s two-year budget.

As Washington moves to legalize recreational pot, preventing “leakage” to other states like Oregon and Idaho is a top priority of the U.S. Justice Department

The issue of tax transparency in Washington is getting fresh attention on the heels of a major tax deal for Boeing.

Washington’s mostly Republican Senate majority will formally unveil a proposed 12-year, $12 billion transportation funding package Thursday.

Washington state hit a 'soft patch' in hiring and is looking at slow overall growth. That news comes from two new data points on the Washington economy out Wednesday.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The 30-day window for marijuana business licenses applications is open in Washington. Would-be growers, processors and retailers applied on line and in-person Monday. So far the Department of Revenue reports nearly 300 completed on line applications. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins spoke with a couple of the first applicants.

Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

The state auditor says a former superintendent at Washington’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island negotiated a contract that he benefited from after he resigned.

Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

Bill and Melinda Gates have each contributed $25,000 to the campaign to require background checks for most gun sales in Washington. The couple’s personal contributions late last month helped push the Yes on Initiative 594 campaign over the $1 million.

Goldendale Area Wildfire Grows Over Weekend

Jul 29, 2013
Anna King

Over the weekend the wildfire burning near Goldendale, in southeast Washington, grew to more than 17,000 acres. Firefighters are battling flames in grass, brush and timber. So far, no homes have burned, but the fire has closed a highway that runs between the towns of Toppenish and Goldendale. The blaze called the Mile Marker 28 fire is moving toward the town of Bickelton, Washington and is about 25 percent contained. More than 1,200 firefighters are working about 78 miles of fire line. Steve Derry is a fire crew chief. He was just getting ready to head back out.

Mt. Rainier Rescues Will Take Longer

Jul 25, 2013

Mount Rainier park rangers are warning it may take longer than usual to rescue stranded climbers.

Supporters of the immigration overhaul that passed the U.S. Senate are drumming up support for the legislation in the Northwest. On Saturday, one of the Democrats taking the lead on the issue in Congress spoke to a crowded church in Yakima, Washington.

The Spokane School District wants to be allowed to consider applications from prospective charter schools.

Washington Supreme Court Hears Wind Farm Case

Jul 1, 2013

The Supreme Court of Washington Thursday heard arguments in a case about a controversial wind farm in the Columbia River Gorge. Then-Governor Chris Gregoire approved the project more than a year ago. Environmentalists say it will harm wildlife, recreation, and scenic views. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Austin Jenkins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee can claim some significant legislative wins, along with several losses now that the legislature has finally adjourned. The Democrat’s first dance with lawmakers was made more difficult when Republicans and two breakaway Democrats took control of the state senate. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this look at the governor’s record.

Austin Jenkins

The Washington legislature adjourned over the weekend. And late Sunday Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a new state budget. It officially averted a government shutdown Monday. The Democratic governor offered this list of what he considers highlights in the budget.

A spokesperson for Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Tuesday lawmakers have agreed to large components of a new state budget and are working through smaller details. They’re running out of time to agree on a two-year budget deal before the existing budget expires this Sunday.

  Meanwhile, 34 state agencies are preparing to close Monday if there’s no deal by then. Virginia Painter with the state parks department says this would be just in time for their busiest week of the year, surrounding the Fourth of July.

Tom Banse

Traffic is set to start rolling across the repaired Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River Wednesday morning. That completes a hasty, round-the-clock salvage and reconstruction job. It started just three and a half weeks ago when an oversize load brought down the vital bridge. Correspondent Tom Banse reports that Northwest Washington drivers and businesses are relishing a return to normal.

Anna King

There’s been a lot of speculation but few answers so far about how genetically modified wheat ended up in an Oregon field.

Oregon and Washington have signed mitigation agreements with two of the three industrial companies whose business would be disrupted by the Columbia River Crossing. April Baer reports from Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed a law that will allow the state’s fictitious driver license program to continue – but only for undercover law enforcement activities. At the bill signing Inslee backed away from a previous statement that he would apply a broad definition of the term “law enforcement.”

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