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Fire Chief James Knisley is one of two paid staffers in his fire department. Volunteers make up the rest of his crew.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

From the top of a mountain in far northeastern King County, the surrounding communities look tiny, just a couple hundred rooftops on a strip of flat land wedged between national forests.

I’m up here with Skykomish Fire Chief James Knisley, who points to U.S. 2 down on the valley floor, where the highway winds its way toward Stevens Pass.

Portland's Swan Island basin was still and remarkably quiet Saturday as a flotilla of kayakers dipped their paddles in and out of the water, pulling themselves north toward the Vigorous, the largest dry dock in America.

Then, with a cry, a drumbeat began. One hundred paddles smacked the water, and people yelled, "Shell no!"

Vancouver Oil Terminal Sparks Controversy, Concerns For Community

Jul 26, 2015

In Washington's Vancouver region, there is arguably no issue more hotly felt than the proposed Tesoro-Savage oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver. The port commission has been criticized for approving a lease to the company in 2013 without what many opponents felt was a proper public process.

The Oregon Forestry Board delayed a decision Thursday on logging restrictions to keep water cool for endangered salmon.

At issue is how many trees should be left standing to provide shade along fish-bearing streams. Cold water is essential for many Northwest fish. When too many trees are cut, direct sun causes water temperatures to rise.

Distressed Trees Prompt Early Watering Reminder

Jul 24, 2015

With high temperatures around state, the Oregon Department of Forestry is reminding people to water their trees.

Signs of distressed trees include leaves that are curling, wilting or appear scorched.

Cynthia Orlando, an ODF spokesperson, said deep watering is essential.

"Using a soaker hose and letting the water get down deep on all sides of the tree so that it soaks all the way down into the soil," she said. Additionally, she recommended putting out mulch to help retain moisture and maintain soil temperatures.

The massive Blue Creek Fire near Walla Walla, Washington, is putting the city’s drinking water supply in jeopardy. The fire is burning along the area’s watershed line as fire crews work around the clock to contain it.

Oregon Department Of Human Services Director Resigns

Jul 24, 2015

For the third time since former governor John Kitzhaber resigned, an Oregon state agency will change directors. This time, it’s the Department of Human Services.

Warren Aakervik, owner of Ballard Oil, worries that development is putting pressure on Ballard's working waterfront.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

From unvaccinated kids and sleepless teens to political shenanigans and floundering fish, here are some of the top stories that KUOW readers were clicking on this week.

This is a mix of health, education, politics and environment – all areas that KUOW’s reporters and producers focus on.

Seattle Kids Have Lower Polio Vaccination Rate Than Rwanda
Doctors hoped the recent measles outbreak would make more parents get their children vaccinated. Nope.

A view of Lake Union from Seattle Harbor Patrol 2. Drownings often occur on sunny days and because of drunk boating.
KUOW Photo/Jeannie Yandel

Seattle Police Officer Mark Mulvanny remembers a time about 10 years ago when he spotted a drunk boater.

He was patrolling Lake Union when he saw the boat speeding northbound, heading straight for him.

Kevin Stormans, owner of Ralph's Thriftway, is at the heart of a seven-year legal over whether pharmacists can withhold prescriptions for religious reasons. The debate began over whether pharmacists may refuse to dispense the contraception pill Plan B.
Google Maps Street View

Pharmacists in Washington state must stock emergency contraceptive – even if they believe it goes against their religious beliefs.

A federal appeals court says the pharmacy rule does not infringe on religious freedom.

Flowers are piled outside the International District Emergency Center on Thursday in tribute to Donald Chin, who was shot to death earlier in the day.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Some called Donald Chin the face of Seattle's Chinatown. Others called him its protector.

Chin, 59, was fatally shot early Thursday morning in the neighborhood that was the focus of his life's work.

The state of Washington is under a federal court order to address the issue of mentally ill inmates languishing in jail. But the problem has actually gotten worse, not better.

Firefighters on the Blue Creek Fire burning just outside of Walla Walla are intensifying their fight to hold a line and keep the wildfire out of a watershed and residential area. Correspondent Anna King describes the scene:

Washington’s Liquor Control Board is getting a new name. Friday it will become the Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Christy McDanold owns the Secret Garden Bookstore on Northwest Market Street. She bought her home in Ballard 20 years ago. Today, she says, she couldn't afford the house she lives in. "I couldn't afford a condo in Ballard today," she said.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

The pressure is on in Seattle’s District 6 – pushing up rents for Fremont’s new tech workers, pushing in townhouses where Ballard’s bungalows once sat, pushing on maritime businesses along the waterfront.

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