Northwest News Network

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

Methow Valley business owners are celebrating a relatively normal opening of the North Cascades Highway. The highway brings tourists and tourism dollars into the north central part of the state.  

Coastal erosion is chewing away at one of the Northwest's most popular recreation areas. It's threatening the main campground and other amenities at Cape Disappointment State Park, which has the second most camper visits in the Washington State Park system.

American fruit growers are starting to ship more containers of fresh fruit into China again. In recent weeks, some fruit shipments were stuck in customs in China. Public radio has learned that special flights to bring Northwest cherries to China had even been canceled.

This story has been updated.

A tail-rotor failure likely led to the crash of a helicopter at the Olympia airport Friday. The pilot and a mechanic on board were both taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Republicans angered by this week’s special Oregon legislative session have accused Gov. Kate Brown of playing politics in an election year. State ethics officials probably won’t wade into whether that’s true.

In an earthquake or wildfire or other disaster, you typically can’t bring your animals with you into a shelter. This is a reason why some people choose not to evacuate when they ought to.

Some Northwest localities have volunteer “Animals in Disaster” teams to handle pet rescue, preparedness and emergency sheltering tasks. Cannon Beach is the latest to establish one.

Federal inspectors have found serious safety violations at Western State Hospital that could increase the chances of patient suicides. The finding this week has the potential to further imperil $65 million in annual federal funding the state receives to operate the 857-bed psychiatric hospital near Tacoma.

If you’re looking to get outside on Memorial Day weekend, you might first check your phone. The U.S. Forest Service launched a mobile app this week that provides trail maps and updates on wildfires and road conditions for all of the Pacific Northwest’s national forests, a national grassland and one scenic area.

This story has been updated.

The United States and Canada next week will begin the official process of re-negotiating the Columbia River Treaty, which expires in 2024. The 1964 agreement governs the upper reaches of the 1,200 mile Columbia River.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently failed to pass a farm bill and Northwest farmers are worried that the process is not plowing ahead.

Kicker Coming? Oregon Tax Revenues Might Exceed Estimates

May 23, 2018

Oregon’s surging tax collections show no signs of abating—and that means you’re probably going to get some money back. Again.

Aptly nicknamed Washaway Beach, in Pacific County, Washington, has long suffered from the most extreme coastal erosion along the whole U.S. West Coast. Now a relatively low cost defense is raising hopes among property owners and nearby cranberry growers.

Former Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley rejected a pair of plea offers from federal prosecutors that would have allowed him to avoid a second trial and his ultimate conviction on multiple felony counts related to his past business practices.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is headed to Iowa--a frequent first stop for presidential hopefuls.

A rare cougar attack east of Seattle left one bicyclist dead and another seriously injured over the weekend.

Monday morning, Gov. Kate Brown convenes the state's first special legislative session since she became governor in 2015.

A week ago, forecasters were predicting the Okanogan River might crest this weekend near a record flood mark set back in 1972. Now, emergency managers are moving into “defense mode” and are now predicting somewhat lower water levels.

Seven different companies have notified Washington's Department of Licensing that they plan to test self-driving vehicles on roads in the state. Oregon transportation officials have gotten notifications from two other companies.

Residents of the Okanogan Valley have been battling floodwaters for more than a week. But floods are not a new thing here. There have been two major floods in previous decades.

The Northwest’s only commercial nuclear reactor went offline Friday morning in an unplanned event. The Columbia Generating Station went offline around 7 a.m. when its main power transformers automatically disconnected from the grid.

One night about a year ago, the lights in Brian's Tacoma apartment suddenly went out. He was in his bedroom. When he walked out to see what had happened, he said he found his adult daughter who lived with him had stuck a bread knife into an electrical outlet.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning in Okanogan County as slow moving storms could bring heavy rain to the region. 
Eleven rivers in north central and eastern Washington state are already near flood stage or higher.

Emergency crews have been preparing for high water in Washington state's Okanogan Valley since early in the month. The Okanogan River hasn’t even crested yet, but they’re already starting to think about what happens when the flood is over.

Emergency management officials are trying to protect drinking water systems throughout the Okanogan Valley from flood water contamination.

The stories of patients and their families are critical to learning more about how state government operates and how our mental health system is functioning. They also shed light on personal struggles with mental health and fight the stigma attached to psychiatric disorders.

The state is currently trying to reshape the hospital and improve our long-struggling mental health system. The issue will likely be at the forefront of the Legislature's 2019 session, which begins in January.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has said she’s calling a special session next week to correct a simple matter of unfairness in state tax policy. But the first public hearing on Brown’s proposal Wednesday suggested debate could be anything but simple.

Crews with the Washington Department of Transportation have been working for two days to fortify a stretch of U.S. Highway 97 threatened by the rising Okanogan River.

A few days ago, there were a few small piles of sandbags, some cones and a sign warned drivers to slow down at Milepost 313.

Prosecutor Kevin Barton will take the helm of the Washington County District Attorney’s Office next year, after overcoming a forceful challenge from opponent Max Wall in the most expensive DA race Oregon’s ever seen.

Washington drivers who are thinking about buying an electric car would be wise to get down to a dealership in the next two weeks. That's because a valuable tax break disappears at month's end.

Oregon Voters Select Val Hoyle As New Labor Commissioner

May 16, 2018

Former lawmaker Val Hoyle appeared poised to secure victory in the heated race for Oregon labor commissioner on Tuesday, becoming just the second woman to oversee the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) in 115 years.

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