Northwest News Network

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

The head of Cooke Aquaculture says he's furious about "scare tactics" that he says are driving a push to end Atlantic salmon farming in Puget Sound. The Washington Senate voted 35-12 Thursday to phase out aquatic leases for net pens holding non-native fish.

The emergency is over for now at Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington. The state says a major, sudden landslide is no longer imminent and Yakima County has lifted its evacuation order and told residents they can move back home near the slide area.

But that’s easier said than done.

A fiery partisan battle has erupted in Olympia over a union-backed measure involving homecare workers. Underlying the fight is whether these workers should be able to opt out of their union.

The debate led to tense moments on the floor of the Washington Senate late Wednesday night.

School districts in Washington state have policies in place to prevent harassment and bullying of students. Now, lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require school districts take special consideration of transgender students.

Future teachers in Washington state may have to get more training in the history, culture, and treaty rights of Native American tribes. That’s a requirement of a bill currently before the Washington Legislature.

Efforts to address sexual harassment in the Washington state Capitol have suffered a setback. Legislative leaders had pledged to improve the workplace climate following reports late last year that revealed a history of misconduct at the Capitol. But finding a solution has proven more difficult than expected.

With traffic congestion getting ever worse in the Seattle metro area, two classes of solo drivers are asking for permission to use the carpool lanes.

But it's a hard sell in Olympia.

A bill that’s making its way through the Washington state House of Representatives would make campaign contributions more transparent. It passed the state Senate last month.

Last month, a Washington state resident was fined more than $8,000 for poaching three wolves in 2016. DNA evidence linked him to three separate kills, but other poaching cases remain unsolved. 

This story has been updated.

A batch of late-arriving ballots is going out to nearly 7,000 Washington voters in advance of next Tuesday’s special election. That’s because of an error in the state’s Motor Voter system that allows people to register to vote when they get a drivers license.

The emergency seems to be over for now at the slow-moving landslide at Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington. The state has taken down the warning signs and lights on the highway below.

But for some, the drive is still nerve wracking. They’ve coined a phrase for driving quickly past the slide: “Shooting the Gap.”

The Airbus subsidiary behind a self-flying, battery-powered passenger drone says the prototype has made its first flight at Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton.

Over the weekend, Washington state tightened the screws—again—on an Atlantic salmon farming operation. The state Department of Natural Resources Saturday terminated the lease for Cooke Aquaculture's Cypress Island fish farm near Anacortes.

Carbon Tax Clears Washington Senate Committee

Feb 2, 2018

A tax on fossil fuel emissions is one step closer to becoming law in Washington state. An amended version of the carbon tax proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee passed the Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee Thursday night. 




Washington’s 60-day legislative session is approaching the halfway mark and majority Democrats are flexing their newfound one-party control of Olympia. That’s especially evident in the state Senate where several priority Democratic bills have been put on a fast track.

Lew Zirkle, a doctor in Richland, Washington, works with thousands of surgeons all over the world to treat injuries in poor or war-ravaged countries. He will receive the U.S. Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service—the highest honor the Defense department gives to a non-career civilian—by Secretary James Mattis later this month.

Lyft, Uber Drivers May Face Fingerprint Background Checks

Feb 2, 2018

Uber and Lyft drivers may soon have to undergo tougher background checks in Washington state. Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require drivers to pass a fingerprint background check before being allowed to operate.

Athletic talent runs in the family on the U.S. Olympic team headed to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Games. There are three sets of siblings on this year's Olympic cross-country skiing squad—two of which have Northwest roots.

Museum curators in the Northwest are now working to update exhibits that focus on the region’s indigenous people. They are trying to do that in a way that both modernizes stories of indigenous people and tells them more truthfully. 

Right next door to the current Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle is a much larger building under construction. When it’s complete, it will serve as the new state Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Starting Thursday, residents who were evacuated for the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide near Yakima, Washington, can go back home. That’s after a new study by a geology firm hired by the state said the slide could take years—or even decades—to come down.

Nowadays the vast fields of grain in eastern Washington and northeastern Oregon feed the world. But once upon a time—1825 to be exact—the first crop of wheat in the Northwest was planted at Fort Vancouver.

For the rest of the 19th century, many farmers grew wheat, oats, rye and barley west of Cascades. Now, foodies, farmers and others are collaborating to revitalize the historic grain production on the wet side.

The Washington state Senate has passed a measure that would expand health insurance plans to cover birth control, including abortion.

Washington health officials penned an uncommonly stern letter to the U.S. Department of Energy this week. It details concerns over the radioactive contamination spread at a Hanford demolition site.

The five-page letter highlights six main issues the state has with the management of the demolition at the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant. 

The landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington, is likely going to be a slow one—it could take years or decades to fully come down. That’s the upshot of a new independent geology report commissioned by the state.

Radioactive Waste At Hanford Keeps Spreading

Jan 30, 2018

Radioactive waste keeps spreading at a demolition site at Hanford. This week, officials have found more contamination on a worker’s boot, on a work trailer and a personal vehicle.

Now, a rental car that’s possibly contaminated has ended up in Spokane. It’s now on a trailer headed back to the Tri-Cities for testing. 


Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is calling on state lawmakers to “step up” and pass a carbon tax this year. The Democrat made his comments Tuesday as the midpoint of the legislative session approaches.

The slow-moving landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge in Washington's Yakima Valley points to a larger problem plaguing the region—affordable housing. When residents were told to move away from their homes in the slide area, there were few places to go.

The slow-moving landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge in Washington's Yakima Valley points to a larger problem plaguing the region—affordable housing. When residents were told to move away from their homes in the slide area, there were few places to go.

Emergency managers along Washington’s southwest coast said they have fixed a significant glitch in their emergency alert systems. That’s after some residents there did not receive news of a tsunami watch after a recent earthquake.

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