Ways to Connect

From the wide-open lobby-lands of Olympia to the lush cash-forests of Seattle, a complex ecosystem of money and influence shapes how we vote — and how we live — in Washington state. Most of us only catch glimpses of it, when politicians display their plumage in TV ads or glossy mailers.

State legislator Brady Walkinshaw represents Washington State's 43rd District.
Courtesy of Ann Norton

Pramila Jayapal got Bernie. 

Now Brady Walkinshaw gets Barney.

A political action committee largely funded by three wealthy Washingtonians has unleashed a hard-hitting attack on a state Supreme Court justice up for re-election. The TV ad suggests Justice Charlie Wiggins is soft on crime.

The only clinic to focus on African-American health in Oregon opened a new building in Portland on Friday.

North By Northeast Community Health Center board member Kevin Howard said many community members prefer it to mainstream health systems.

“A lot of us as African-American patients feel like they're just another number," Howard said. "They feel like they’re, not important.”

The clinic’s co-founder, Dr. Jill Ginsberg, said if you have diabetes and you’re black, you’re still twice as likely to die as someone who’s white.

Taking Down Snake River Dams: It's Back On The Table

23 hours ago

Starting Monday people will get a chance to weigh-in on a controversial question: Should four dams come down on the lower Snake River? They’re facing renewed scrutiny because of a court-ordered analysis on how the dams are harming salmon.

Last May, a federal judge — for the fifth time — rejected the government’s plan for protecting threatened and endangered salmon in the Columbia River system. He said agencies must take a new look at all approaches to managing the dams — including breaching those on the lower Snake River in southeast Washington.

Last winter was the first time the Dungeness crab fishery in Oregon closed temporarily because of toxic algae in the ocean. And even just a week ago, another toxic bloom was happening off the coast.

Scientists are just beginning to understand what triggers these conditions. A study this month from Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides a rare peak below the waves.

A long-time veteran with the Oregon Department of Corrections has been promoted to serve as the agency's interim deputy director. The move comes after the previous deputy director resigned after less than two years on the job.

Many Washington and Idaho wheat farmers are struggling this year because of a weird crop problem. Researchers at the USDA’s Western Wheat Quality Lab at Washington State University in Pullman are looking into it.

By baking cakes, cookies, bread, pancakes, noodles and pasta.

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe has stepped up its opposition to a proposed coal terminal in Longview, Washington, saying state and federal officials have underestimated the environmental risks of the project and ignored the tribe’s requests for consultation.

Cowlitz Chairman Bill Iyall, on a call with reporters Friday, said plans to export 44 million metric tons of coal through a terminal in Longview threaten the tribe’s culture and homeland.

“Since time immemorial we’ve relied on the once bountiful resources for survival,” Iyall said.

Rashid Abdi registers to vote for the first time
KUOW Photo/David Hyde

Amina Ahmed faces an uphill battle on a breezy Saturday morning in a neighborhood straddling Tukwila and SeaTac: She's running a voter registration drive.

Ahmed is up against power and influence in American politics. The wealthy have it. And they also vote at much higher rates.

Alaska’s largest statewide native organization honored the Yakama Nation during their annual convention Thursday. The Yakama Nation loaned the Alaska Federation of Natives $225,000 to establish itself 50 years ago.

The five climate activists arrested after shutting down Canada-to-U.S. pipelines pose for a photo. They were identified by Climate Direct Action as (left to right): Emily Johnson, Annette Klapstein, Leonard Higgins, Ken Ward and Michael Foster.
Courtesy of Climate Direct Action

Three people were arraigned in Skagit County Superior Court Thursday on charges related to Oct. 11 demonstrations against oil pipelines.  A lawyer said two of those people are journalists who did nothing to warrant the criminal charges. 

A trio of wealthy Washingtonians has just put $350,000 into an effort to defeat a sitting state Supreme Court justice. Their target is Charlie Wiggins who’s been on the court since 2011.

Washington’s race for governor is a lopsided affair. Incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee has a three-to-one fundraising advantage over Republican challenger Bill Bryant. And polls show Inslee with a 10 point lead.

But that’s not stopping Bryant from trying to make the campaign a referendum on Inslee’s leadership.

Opponents of a methanol plant proposed in Kalama, Washington, are challenging the environmental review of the project.

The Chinese-backed facility would convert natural gas to methanol, which would then be shipped overseas to be made into plastic. If it's built as proposed on the lower Columbia River, it will be the world's largest gas-to-methanol plant.