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Early this year, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said no to a massive oil-by-rail terminal proposed in Vancouver, Washington.

The $210 million Vancouver Energy project, a joint venture from Tesoro and Savage, would have brought up to 360,000 gallons of crude oil a day on trains traveling along the Columbia River. The proposal would have been the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the country.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Congestion on regional roads is not expected to get better anytime soon, so more and more communities are considering a Puget Sound commuter ferry.

Agencies in Pierce, Thurston and Island counties are all looking into the possibility. But these agencies have a common problem: where to land on Seattle's crowded waterfront.

Polluted Stormwater Damages Fish's Ability to Survive

Feb 13, 2018

Each time it rained during an eight-week period in the winter of 2015, someone from Jenifer McIntyre’s team drove up to Seattle and collected stormwater near the Highway 520 bridge across Lake Washington.

It was a rainy stretch, so that meant 25 trips.

After each trip, McIntyre says, "we would bring the dirty runoff to the fish" — the larval fish the team was rearing in Indianola on the eastern side of Puget Sound  — "and expose them to that for 24 or 48 hours."

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Last summer Kitsap Transit launched a fast ferry service with a single vessel. The Rich Passage I was the only low-wake boat it had to satisfy shore-erosion concerns along the passage from Bremerton to Seattle.

Since then, the Rich Passage I has missed 128 sailings, mostly because of mechanical failures. And though the vessel has been reliable since last October, Kitsap Transit’s problems aren’t over yet: In just over a month the vessel is due in drydock for the complete replacement of its engines.

Seattle Preschool Program teacher Hien Do, center, dances with her students on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at the ReWA Early Learning Center at Beacon, in Seattle, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray pitched his $81 million subsidized preschool program to voters in 2014, this was his promise: high-quality, affordable early learning that would help bridge the opportunity gap between rich and poor, black and white.

NW Detention Center Resistance

Several detainees at the immigration jail in Tacoma say they are on hunger strike to push for better conditions. And they claim some guards are taking aggressive steps to stop them.

Reaction in the Pacific Northwest was swift to President Trump’s proposed cuts to the cleanup budget at the Hanford Site.

Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, called the proposed $230 million cut “downright dangerous for everyone who lives near the Columbia River.”

The Interior Department plans to expand energy development on public lands and offshore to pay for the National Park Service's maintenance backlog.

In the Pacific Northwest, the needs range from washed-out roads and trails at Mount Rainier National Park to repairing bridges and parking lots at the Olympic National Park.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the parks’ maintenance backlog is $11.7 billion. The entire Interior Department’s backlog is $16 billion.

The Benson Trolleys, in storage
The Friends of the Benson Trolleys

Construction crews are busy relocating utilities for the new trolley line through downtown Seattle. The new line will integrate the shorter lines at either end of downtown into a larger system.

The trolley cars running on that line will have all the latest technology. But some civic leaders want to sprinkle some old, historic trolleys among the new trolleys.

Jimi Hendrix in Seattle, February 12, 1968
Ulvis Alberts / Museum of Pop Culture permanent collection

Poor, neglected, carrying around a broom as substitute for the guitar he didn't have.  These are images of Jimi Hendrix growing up in Seattle.

And Hendrix biographer Charles R. Cross says that even when Hendrix returned to the city as a superstar to play a concert 50 years ago, on Feb. 12, 1968, he was heckled by students at his old high school. Cross says Hendrix always had a complicated relationship with Seattle, but the city should use this anniversary to do more to honor him.


Master David F. Leong Dragon & Lion Group members perform during the Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Large crowds gathered in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District on Sunday to welcome the year of the dog during the Lunar New Year celebration. 

A police officer pepper sprays a group of protesters on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, outside of a College Republicans rally at Red Square on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Five people were arrested at a College Republicans rally on the University of Washington campus Saturday that attracted a large crowd of protesters.


After a deadlocked 3-3 vote, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 4-2 Friday to elevate the marbled murrelet from a "threatened" species to "endangered."

The marbled murrelet is a seabird that nests in older coastal forests, and its population has been in a long-term decline in large part because of the loss of old growth trees to logging.

Buses are lined up inside the First Student bus lot on Lake City Way Northeast on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Update 2/10/2018 7:20 p.m.: First Student and the Teamsters Union 174 have reached a contract agreement and bus service will resume on Monday morning.

Original Post: The Seattle Public School bus drivers' strike may be coming to an end after more than a week. Yellow school bus contractor First Student entered into mediation with the union representing the drivers Thursday. Representatives from both parties now say they’ve reached a tentative agreement.

Washington State Troopers try to keep counter-protesters back from a protest by the conservative group Patriot Prayer, Thursday, June 15, 2017, at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the University of Washington from charging the UW College Republicans group a $17,000 security fee for a rally on campus this weekend.

The College Republicans have invited the head of the conservative group Patriot Prayer to speak in Red Square at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Several groups have said they plan to protest the event.  

The Forest Service has given its consent for exploratory mining on public land near Mount St. Helens.  

The Canadian mining company Ascot USA wants to take 63 rock-core samples in Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which involves creating 2-3 inch boreholes down into the earth. The company is testing for valuable mineral deposits – including copper and gold.

It looks like the Confederated Tribes of the Colville will be keeping their name, for now. Tribal members have rejected a referendum that would have kicked off a name-changing process.

The first Olympic medals of the 2018 Winter Games are up for grabs this weekend. Pacific Northwest athletes in action include short track speedskaters Aaron Tran and J.R. Celski of Federal Way, Washington, in the men's 1500m and cross country skier Erik Bjornsen from Washington's Methow Valley in men's skiathlon.

Net Neutrality Protection Passes Washington House

Feb 9, 2018

Washington state lawmakers vowed to protect net neutrality after the Federal Communications Commission rolled back the Obama-era regulations. Now that effort is making progress.

The earth is squishy. The wind is mosquito-y. And there’s a flower the color of fire on the Southern Oregon coast.

It’s called the Western Lily.

“If the habitat’s right and the water is right and the sunlight’s right, they're going to thrive,” said Sherri Laier, a natural resource specialist for Oregon State Parks.

Western lilies grow in peat bogs. They need open areas without much tree cover. And they need a high water table that stays wet even during the hottest, driest summers.

'OPB Politics Now': Addressing Climate Change In The Northwest

Feb 9, 2018

We keep hearing about how the federal government is rolling back climate policies. To counteract that, more and more Democratic governors are pushing proposals at the state level to address climate change.

This week on "OPB Politics Now," we’ll discuss the policies both Oregon and Washington are considering to tackle climate change at the state level.

Visual artist Ari Glass poses for a portrait in front of one of his paintings on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, at his artist loft in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

You may not know Ari Glass now, but you will soon. This Southeast Seattle native has set his sights high.

He’s wanted to be an artist ever since childhood, inspired by masters like Pablo Picasso.

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.

Flickr Photo/Brian Stalter (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Kim Malcolm talks with Alison Holcomb about Seattle's move to vacate convictions for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Holcomb is director of strategy for the ACLU of Washington and the architect of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana in Washington.

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.

It's not clear how many trees on private property in Seattle have been cut down for development projects.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Tree advocates say if Seattle wants to do a better job counting and preserving trees, it should follow the lead of its suburbs.

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.

Mike Browning, left, protests with other members of Teamsters Local 174 on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, outside of the First Student bus lot on Lake City Way Northeast in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

One week into the Seattle Public School bus driver strike, the two sides may be edging closer to a resolution.

Yellow school bus contractor First Student will enter into mediation with the union representing the drivers Thursday. This will be the first meeting between the two sides since the strike began. 

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