Northwest News Network

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

A team from the University of Washington has won a major award for artificial intelligence: the inaugural Alexa Prize from Amazon.

The $500,000 award was announced today at Amazon’s AWS re:Invent 2017 conference in Las Vegas.

Gun rights advocates and legislative leaders are reacting to new rules on guns in the Washington state Senate. Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib announced a ban Monday on all firearms in the public viewing galleries.

A major milestone is approaching at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state. After nearly two decades of work, contractors have just finished cleaning out the first group of 16 radioactive waste tanks.

After the tank farm is officially declared cleaned out by Washington’s Department of Ecology, the federal government has to decide what to do with the tanks themselves.

This story has been updated

All firearms will be banned from the Washington state Senate public viewing galleries when the 2018 legislative session begins on January 8.

Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat who serves as the president of the Senate, issued that order Monday, extending a previous order banning openly-carried guns in the Senate galleries.

People who catch fish for sport or for a living often eagerly await the day when fishing season opens. But a new study from the University of Washington argues the timing of fishing seasons needs to be reevaluated, especially in light of climate change.

Washington state Rep. Paul Graves is proposing to end the cloak of secrecy around legislative emails, calendars and other records. The move comes as media outlets, including public radio, have sued the Legislature over public records.

Seattle is at the top of the list of major U.S. cities that are seeing the highest increases in home prices. That’s according to the real estate firm Zillow, which released a new report Wednesday.

Marijuana may be legal in Washington and Oregon, but police continue to bust illegal marijuana operations that are not licensed by the state.

The latest numbers from the Washington State Patrol show that 89 illegal marijuana growing operations were shut down in Washington over the past year. Some were indoor grows, most were outdoor.

Nearly 20,000 people have been removed from Washington’s Medicaid rolls for ineligibility. The purge happened after the state stepped up efforts to verify residency and income levels.

Washington and Oregon are making contingency plans in case Congress doesn’t reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP is for low-income families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

Washington state’s Department of Fish and Game is offering its own version of retail therapy this Black Friday: skip the mall and go fishing instead.

There’s a new plant species in Washington state, but it hasn’t been named yet. And the botanist who discovered it will auction off that opportunity this week.




Police are investigating the apparent murder of an inmate Sunday night at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.

Shallow, active earthquake faults are being discovered all over Oregon and Washington state. Collectively, these may present a higher risk than the better known offshore Cascadia subduction zone.

The Spokane City Council will consider an ordinance Monday, that would make it easier for anyone with a criminal record to be hired.

The Washington State Supreme Court has decided that it believes in second chances and rehabilitation in a case involving a former drug addict who transformed into a promising future attorney.

The high court ordered that Tarra Simmons of Bremerton, an honors law school graduate with a criminal past, can take the bar exam to become a licensed lawyer.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” Simmons said shortly after receiving news of the order. “I went to my knees crying because it’s been such a long and painful journey. “

Oregon Senate Republicans Choose New Leader

Nov 15, 2017

The Oregon Senate Republican caucus chose a new leader for the first time in more than a decade Wednesday. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, won a closed-door election to lead the 13-member Senate GOP delegation.

Who’s Watching Hanford? EPA Presence Dwindling

Nov 15, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is one of the government watchdogs monitoring the cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation. But recently the EPA’s Hanford office has shrunk in half.

The statewide unemployment rate in Washington again touched a record low of 4.5 percent in October. That's according to the Washington Employment Security Department, which has been tracking the number since the mid-1970s.

In response to recent reports about sexual harassment at the Washington state Capitol, a state Senate committee voted Tuesday night to require all senators and staff to take annual sexual harassment training.

The vote by the Senate’s Facilities and Operations Committee was unanimous.

October's California wine country wildfires damaged more than 30 wineries. Now, the Northwest wine industry and wine drinkers are stepping up to with their wallets to help.

Washington state lawmakers will likely have to come up with an extra $1 billion for schools when they convene in January for the 2018 session.

The Washington Supreme Court issued a unanimous order Wednesday that said the state is not on track to fully fund public schools by a court-imposed deadline of September 1, 2018.

Kitzhaber Agrees To $1,000 Civil Ethics Penalty

Nov 15, 2017

Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has agreed to pay a $1,000 civil penalty to the state of Oregon for ethics violations. Kitzhaber agreed to the penalty after a review by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.

Beginning next year, Washington state senators and Senate staff will be required to take annual sexual harassment training. The Senate’s operations committee unanimously approved that requirement at a meeting Tuesday night.

Alaska Airlines To Discontinue Flights To Cuba

Nov 14, 2017

Alaska Airlines is saying "Adios" to Cuba. The Seattle-based airline Tuesday announced it will discontinue flights to Havana after the holidays. Alaska joins a parade of other U.S. carriers who are trimming back flights to Cuba or dropping service entirely.

Oregon Eclipse Costs Top $260,000

Nov 14, 2017

This summer’s total solar eclipse in Oregon came with a price tag. The Oregon Military Department is requesting an extra $260,000 to pay for the costs of managing crowds during the August 21 event.

The wildfires are largely out in places like the Columbia River Gorge and the south Oregon coast, but the economic fallout continues in many nearby Oregon communities. That was the message Tuesday during a meeting of the Oregon House Committee on Economic Development.

Back in May, a train tunnel at the Hanford nuclear site partially collapsed. Federal contractors have now just finished filling it up with grout. It took about 520 truck loads of grout to fill the tunnel.

Crews had been doing the work mostly at night since early October.

A prototype of a single-seat passenger drone has arrived at Pendleton, Oregon's airport for flight testing. That according to the Silicon Valley-based Airbus subsidiary A^3—or “A-cubed”—behind the Vahana Project.

The battery-powered, self-flying aircraft has been reassembled after shipping and is now undergoing ground tests.

Tough new laws against handling a cell phone behind the wheel  took effect in Washington and Oregon this year. Each state’s legislature made it illegal to drive while holding an electronic device for most any reason.

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