Northwest News Network

Regional Public Journalism from twelve public radio stations throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

There’s a set of massive whale bones resting on the bottom of the bay in Newport, Oregon. Scientists from Oregon State University put them there with a plan for a future display on shore. But they’re having trouble finding the money to retrieve the rare blue whale skeleton from beneath the waves. 

There’s a set of massive whale bones resting on the bottom of the bay in Newport, Oregon. Scientists from Oregon State University put them there with a plan for a future display on shore. But they’re having trouble finding the money to retrieve the rare blue whale skeleton from beneath the waves.


Last March, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced the resignation of one of his longest-serving cabinet members, Employment Security Department head Dale Peinecke. A workplace misconduct investigation had found that over the five years Peinecke worked in state government, he made some staff uncomfortable and was “vulnerable to claims of harassment with sexual overtones.”

For years, mentally ill inmates in this state have languished in county jails awaiting state evaluations to determine if they're competent to stand trial.

But according to a legal settlement announced this Thursday, people with mental illness who are caught up in Washington state’s criminal justice system would get more services.

In cases when inmates are found not competent, they often wait weeks or months more to get a bed at a state hospital.

On Tuesday afternoon, a water-scooping airplane working a fire in northeastern Washington state crashed. The pilot walked away with minor injuries.

It’s an Air Tractor 802, also known as a Fire Boss -- it looks like a crop duster on floats. It scooped 800 gallons of water from the Columbia River and was on its way to the Horns Mountain Fire when it went down.

Fires across the region have blanketed the Northwest in smoke. Blazes in California and British Columbia are also adding to the thick, reddish-gray haze.  

Central Washington University on Tuesday fired Republican state Rep. Matt Manweller from his position as a tenured professor of political science following a months-long investigation into his conduct toward students. 

Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network. To see more, visit Northwest News Network.

  It was a wild weekend for wildfire in the Northwest.

Less than 200 years ago, the easiest way to get around a lot of the Pacific Northwest was by canoe. The first American steamship to provide regular service among Puget Sound ports arrived in 1853.

This small steamship, propelled by paddlewheels attached to its sides, was called the Fairy. But its success was short-lived. It soon blew up and sank.

Today, an Oregon-based group of shipwreck hunters wants to find the historic remains of that little steamer. The shipwreck search was inspired by one man's obsession. Appropriately enough, he's nicknamed "Tug."

The U.S. Drought Monitor says the entire state of Washington is abnormally dry. In Oregon, nearly 90 percent of the state is facing moderate to severe drought.

“What we’re experiencing is part of what the entire Western United States is experiencing,” Kristin Johnson-Waggoner said. She’s a communications manager with the Water Resources Program in Washington Department of Ecology.

During every berry-picking season in the Pacific Northwest, blueberry and raspberry growers fight to prevent birds from gobbling up the crop before harvest. This year, some farmers are trying something new to scare away the thieving birds: lasers.

Justin Meduri manages a large blueberry farm and cherry orchard outside Jefferson, Ore. Birds like both fruits.

Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network. To see more, visit Northwest News Network.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Less than 200 years ago, the easiest way to get around a lot of the Pacific Northwest was by canoe. The first American steamship to provide regular service among Puget Sound ports arrived in 1853.

This small steamship, propelled by paddlewheels attached to its sides, was called the Fairy. But its success was short-lived. It soon blew up and sank.

Washington Republicans are regrouping after a primary election pounding Tuesday that extended beyond swing districts to rock-ribbed GOP pockets of the state.

Washington Republicans are regrouping after a primary election pounding Tuesday that extended beyond swing districts to rock-ribbed GOP pockets of the state.

Embattled Democratic state Rep. David Sawyer of Tacoma was in third place in early primary returns Tuesday night, an indication of the political fallout he’s facing over numerous allegations of inappropriate behavior toward women and an investigation that found he violated House harassment policy. 

An emaciated orca from the Pacific Northwest’s critically-endangered resident killer whale population could get a pole injection of medicine under the latest preferred option of an emergency response team. 

Officials with the lead federal agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, described the changing situation Monday morning.

On the evening of August 14, 2010, Steve and Laurie Jenks were returning to their motel from a wedding in Walla Walla. It was dark and Steve, who was driving, had been warned to watch for deer along Highway 124. 

An emaciated orca from the Pacific Northwest’s critically-endangered resident killer whale population could get a pole injection of medicine under the latest prefered option of an emergency response team. 

An emaciated, 4-year-old Pacific Northwest orca is drawing alarm.

NOAA Fisheries spokesman Michael Milstein said feeding live Chinook salmon to the female orca, possibly laced with medication, is being considered.

With less than a week until the primary election in his district, Republican state Rep. Matt Manweller has released a video accusing his employer—Central Washington University (CWU)—of pursuing a partisan-driven investigation into his workplace conduct.

In a clash of protected species, Pacific Northwest members of Congress are coming down in favor of salmon. The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday morning to make it easier to kill sea lions who feast on Columbia and Willamette River salmon and steelhead.

The National Guard is gearing up to help fight wildfire in eastern Washington, and Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state-wide emergency.

For the third year in a row, a military reconnaissance aircraft is joining the battle against Pacific Northwest wildfires. This specialized plane can locate new fires from many miles away.

A federal detention facility in Sheridan, Oregon, must continue to open its doors to attorneys representing dozens of immigrant detainees, a judge ruled today.

When the U.S. Supreme Court obliterated mandatory union dues in late June, the Freedom Foundation was ready.

For years, leaders of the conservative, Olympia-based nonprofit dreamed of a tool to kneecap the public-sector unions that champion Democratic candidates and liberal causes in Oregon. Suddenly it had arrived.

The craft brewing industry in the Pacific Northwest is starting to feel pain from the Trump administration's steel and aluminum tariffs. Those metals are made into beer cans, kegs and fermentation tanks.

The two biggest blood networks in the Pacific Northwest say the region's blood supply is suffering a critical shortage.

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