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A poem read by a teen reader at King County Juvenile Detention in Seattle. The reader, a teen girl, had memorized it and therefore didn't read from the page.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The girl had been raped as a child.

Years later, she was in juvenile detention in Seattle, telling her story to Richard Gold, who was helping her write a poem.

Former Washington governor Mike Lowry, an unapologetic liberal who advocated for higher taxes and social programs, died Monday from complications related to a stroke. He was 78.

EarthFix is pleased to introduce terrestrial, a new environment-focused podcast from a journalist who’s been with us since the beginning.

Ashley Ahearn is the host of terrestrial, produced by KUOW, Puget Sound Public Radio, in Seattle. Before terrestrial, Ahearn was a founding member of the EarthFix reporting team, telling environmental stories of the Northwest since 2011 for public media audiences in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

When there is money left over from political campaigns, what do elected officials do with it? Records show that since Election Day more than a dozen Washington state lawmakers have dipped into leftover campaign cash for pay for everything from cellphones to meals out to travel.

And this “surplus campaign spending” gets little scrutiny.

A worker at the Washington Shoe Company in Kent, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

There are a lot of names for the the communities south of Seattle including Renton, Kent and Auburn. What name you use really depends on how you see this area - which happens to be the second-largest distribution zone on the West Coast, a place where recently-arrived immigrants get their start in Seattle, and where the Green River twists and turns. 

The spillway doors at the Howard Hanson Dam. A red mark on the left door indicates the highest water the dam ever saw, in 2009. This revealed weaknesses in the dam that have since been fixed, but storms could bring higher water someday.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Green River hasn’t flooded in more than half a century.

It used to all the time. Every other year or so, the valley filled with water and turned into one long lake, from Auburn, Kent, and Renton up to Seattle.

Now the area holds the largest collection of warehouse and manufacturing jobs in the state, worth billions of dollars. Someday, it will probably be under water again.


A couple Kent farmers known as the Johnson brothers and an unidentified hired man stare down the photographer from a raft during a 1910 flood in what we today call The Green River Valley.
White River Valley Museum, Clark Collection

This is a story of a war between farmers. Farmers in Kent and Auburn were frustrated because their valley was constantly flooding. And that made it difficult to farm in their beautiful, very fertile valley.

That led those farmers to do some naughty things.


Red-light cameras in Oregon could soon be also nabbing drivers for speeding. The Oregon House could vote as soon as Monday on a bill that would allow cities to use the cameras to issue speeding tickets.

The Washington Soldiers Home has been ordered to take steps to protect it residents. The order by outside regulators follows a recent investigation that found “widespread deficiencies” at the nursing home for veterans.

The Washington Soldiers Home is a state-run facility that serves veterans, their spouses or widows and Gold Star parents.

One of the largest state workers unions rallied in front of the Oregon Capitol Friday. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said budget-balancing discussions by Oregon lawmakers unfairly target public employees.

It’s Design Week in Portland! The week when all of the makers, the tallest and the smallest, get together to talk about the looks they love, the technology they’re using, and the newest concepts and products they're dreaming up. From streetwear to downtown Portland to sporting goods to candy, everything's on the drawing board.

Members of Oregon’s congressional delegation introduced a bipartisan bill Friday to help towns and cities prepare for serious railroad incidents.

The Community Protection and Preparedness Act would create a trust fund to help communities prepare for incidents involving flammable liquids like crude oil and ethanol.

Last summer, a Union Pacific train derailed and spilled thousands of gallons of crude in the small Columbia River Gorge town of Mosier, Oregon.

British Columbia’s government has taken the next step in a long running legal dispute with an Indian tribe in Washington state.

The case dates back to 2009 when Washington resident and defendant Rick Desautel knowingly hunted elk illegally in British Columbia.

A proposal to tax sugary drinks like soda pop in Seattle passed Monday.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JwCQyB

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's proposed soda tax will now include diet beverages.

Murray's original plan only included sugary drinks and received pushback. He said Thursday that the addition of diet drinks comes out of a desire for equity.

Police officers pause next to a sign outside a restaurant as they observe a May Day anti-capitalism march, Friday, May 1, 2015 in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

When you’re out marching on May Day in Seattle on Monday, remember how the tradition began: as an attempt to get workers an eight-hour day.

And then think about this: Some labor advocates say the eight-hour day is under attack in Congress.

A project that would export 44 million tons of coal a year from Longview, Washington, would raise the cancer risk for people living near rail lines, create traffic jams with its mile-long coal trains and increase global greenhouse gas emissions by 2 million tons.

The Millennium coal export project would be among the largest coal terminals in North America, and it would inevitably impact the environment and the surrounding community in Southwest Washington, according to a new report from state and county regulators.

Marwal Frotan plays with his daughter Bushra in their Kent home. Frotan and his family moved to Seattle four months ago.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Many refugee resettlement agencies have been in limbo since the travel bans came out.


Environmentalists concerned that lobbying and polite marches have failed to weaken America’s reliance on fossil fuels have started turning to more confrontational approaches.

Climate activists with the group 350 Seattle say 2,000 people from the Seattle area have signed a “pledge of resistance” to participate in civil disobedience on behalf of the global climate.

While civil disobedience is nothing new, even for climate activists, 350 Seattle organizers said interest in it has ballooned since the election of President Donald Trump.

Public utility commissioners in Chelan County, Washington, take a high stakes vote Monday that could influence whether the aluminum industry and its well-paid, blue collar jobs make a comeback in the Pacific Northwest.

'Direct action' trainer Ximena Velazquez-Arenas runs past some of the people she's training. Tap on this photo to see more images from the training.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Environmentalists concerned that lobbying and polite marches have failed to weaken America’s reliance on fossil fuels have started turning to more confrontational approaches.


Kill A Juniper Tree, Save A Sage Grouse

Apr 27, 2017

There’s good news for the West's imperiled greater sage grouse. New research suggests the bird has a better chance of survival when juniper trees are removed from its habitat.

The chicken-sized sage grouse's decline has happened over the same stretch of time that's seen western juniper and pinyon pine trees spread out across the bird's sagebrush ecosystem. Reasons for the trees' expansion include fire suppression, overgrazing and changing climate conditions.

As the stands grow more dense, they outcompete sagebrush. They also serve as perches for birds of prey.

An unusually cold and wet spring has Northwest asparagus growers anxious because the crop isn’t coming up. Large asparagus packing houses say they’re down hundreds-of-thousands of pounds so far this spring from normal.

The state of Washington has taken delivery of its first longer-range electric cars as part of a plan to double its electric vehicle fleet. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee showed off one of them at a ceremony in Olympia Thursday.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed an executive order aimed at improving the way the state negotiates with its unionized workers.

The order establishes that money set aside for collective bargaining will now include salary increases and health care costs.

The decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose tariffs on Canadian lumber in the U.S. caused a stir this week. But the local consequences are still unknown.

Jewish children protest the so-called Muslim travel ban at Sea-Tac International Airport.
KUOW File Photo/Liz Jones

Airports were in chaos in January, hours after President Trump issued an executive order barring people from seven Muslim countries. 

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced climate legislation Thursday to completely phase-out fossil fuels.

Called the "100 by 50 Act," it aims to run 100 percent of the country on clean and renewable energy by 2050.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., supported the launch. “Mr. President your job is to listen to the scientific community which is virtually unanimous in telling us that we’ve got to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” he said.

Zakary Fike and William Hughes
KUOW: Isolde Raftery

"I had NEVER hugged a white man in my whole life. And now I'm like hugging these guys and saying 'I love you, brother.'"  

Paul Savino’s first patient of the day collapsed under the weight of an overgrown child. He's seen these symptoms before.

“What we have here are a couple of dowel joints that have popped and one that has snapped,” he said. “But the patient will survive, I dare say.”

A piece of sandpaper, some wood glue and 20 minutes later, the toddler-sized wooden chair was back on its feet.

The homeless encampment known as the Jungle was he scene of a Jan. 26, 2016 shooting that killed two and wounded three.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen is giving Seattle $30 million to house homeless families.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced the partnership Wednesday, saying that the city will add another $5 million to the project.

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