Northwest News Network

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

There are several agencies and a group of stakeholders who watch over cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. But the partial government shutdown is blocking some of that important oversight.

In the past 10 years, the Environmental Protection Agency office in Richland has shrunk from nearly 10 experts working on Hanford issues to just three – including the top manager.

A bipartisan effort to make Washington the first state to legalize human composting faced its first test in front of lawmakers on Tuesday — and the idea seemed to go over relatively well. 

Attorneys General from 21 U.S. states, including those in Oregon and Washington, filed briefs this week urging a federal appeals court to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, aims to keep Native American children with their Native family members during adoption proceedings and in cases of neglect or abuse.

Warning that Washington state is at a "tipping point," Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday delivered a State of the State address that called on lawmakers to address carbon pollution, "transform" the mental health system and save Puget Sound orcas.

From aviation contracts to deals with vendors and even seasonal hiring, the partial federal government shutdown is cutting into planning and preparation for the 2019 wildfire season in the Northwest.

Washington state Sen. Kevin Ranker, an Orcas Island Democrat, has resigned his seat in the midst of a workplace conduct investigation. In a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee dated Friday, Ranker, who served in the Senate for a decade, said his resignation was effective immediately. The state's 105 day legislative session starts Monday.

Some Oregon State Parks workers are now tending to federal recreation lands as the partial U.S. government shutdown continues with no end in sight.

Two decades ago, Washington voters overwhelming adopted an initiative that effectively banned affirmative action programs in the state. That could soon change.

Washington state's attorney general wants to know if emergency response was delayed to anyone during a nearly statewide 911 outage late last month. The accounts of victims, if there are any, could figure into a penalty against call network manager CenturyLink.

Washington State Ferries has come up with a plan to replace more than half of its fleet with new, electric-powered ferries. But the new plan faces hurdles from a cost standpoint and limited shipyard capacity.

As the partial government shutdown drags on, the National Park Service is having a harder time keeping its Northwest jewels open. The last open gate at Mount Rainier swung shut until further notice on Sunday afternoon.

Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET Jan. 3

On a recent rainy day, farmer Allen Druffel stands outside a silo shuffling his feet in the gravel. This co-op bin is where he stores his dried garbanzo beans in the tiny town of Colton, Wash. The place should be busy; trucks should be loading and hauling this year's crop to markets and international ports. But midafternoon, there's just the rain.

Since farmers like Druffel brought in this year's crops, hardly any garbanzos — or chickpeas — have moved.

Copyright 2019 Northwest News Network. To see more, visit Northwest News Network.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Next we report on the economic damage from a trade war. The people affected are American farmers who grow garbanzo beans, lentils and peas. Here's Anna King of Northwest News Network.

If Congress and the Trump administration cannot broker a deal to fund the government, which looks increasingly possible late Friday, there's a solace for the Pacific Northwest: Based on check-ins with federal agencies here, the local effects of a partial federal government shutdown would likely be limited.

From mid-December to February, hundreds upon hundreds of bald eagles flock to the Skagit River in northwest Washington to feast on spawning salmon. It's one of the biggest seasonal concentrations of eagles in the Pacific Northwest, but this eagle watching hot spot is being affected by changing cycles of nature.

A Washington state senator under investigation for alleged workplace misconduct involving his former legislative assistant acknowledged Tuesday that he had a "brief relationship" with the woman before he hired her in 2009.

An Amtrak Cascades train arriving in Vancouver, B.C., from Seattle derailed at low speed Monday. Nobody was hurt, but the timing was unfortunate: The derailment occurred almost exactly one year after last December's deadly derailment south of Tacoma, which killed three people and injured dozens more. 


Last December's Amtrak derailment near DuPont, Washington, did more than cost three people their lives and injure dozens more. It's now becoming apparent that it set back regional train service expansion by years.


Washington state Sen. Kevin Ranker, an Orcas Island Democrat best known for his work on environmental issues, has confirmed that he is under investigation for alleged workplace misconduct involving a former employee.


On the surface, Father James Poole seemed like the cool priest in Nome, Alaska. He founded a Catholic mission radio station that broadcast his Jesuit sermons alongside contemporary pop hits. A 1978 story in People magazine called Poole “Western Alaska’s Hippest DJ … Comin’ at Ya with Rock’n’Roll ’n’ Religion.”

It's been almost one year since an Amtrak Cascades train derailed near DuPont, Washington. The crash killed three passengers and injured more than 60, including drivers on adjacent Interstate 5. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing a hefty $10 billion increase in state spending over the next two years to maintain current services and fund new priorities, including mental health and orca recovery. To pay for his budget, the two-term Democrat is once again pushing for a new state capital gains tax on high income earners as well as an increase in the business and occupation tax on professional services.

Following eight months of meetings, a workgroup on the prevention of sexual harassment in the Washington state House is recommending the formation of an independent office where victims could report misconduct.

A suspicous fire early Friday morning destroyed the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Lacey, Washington. If confirmed as arson, this would be the sixth attack on the faith in Thurston County this year.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has raised more than $112,000 since October for a federal political action committee (PAC) that will allow him to explore a possible run for president in 2020, something the two-term Democrat said he's actively considering and will decide by April.

An elusive carnivore in the weasel family is roaming free in Washington’s North Cascades for the first time in at least 70 years.

Federal and state wildlife biologists on Wednesday released six fishers captured and relocated from Alberta. One by one, the six furry fishers sprinted out of their wooden boxes into the mossy forest of the Ross Lake National Recreation Area near Newhalem. 

Aubrey Watkins has worked as an exotic dancer for 20 years, which has allowed her to raise three sons and pay for college tuition. 

An online map of wolf sightings from the public includes unconfirmed reports of wandering wolves from the Idaho border to the Pacific beaches, not to mention inside major cities such as Seattle and Tacoma.

The Oregon and Washington state wildlife departments welcome more eyes on the woods to monitor the spread of wolves, even though a good number of the citizen sightings are probably mistaken.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has formed a federal political action committee and started soliciting contributions, signaling an important next step as he decides whether to run for president in 2020, the public radio Northwest News Network and The Seattle Times have learned.

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