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What would it look like if Oregon’s largest public universities fell into private control? It’s an idea that surfaced recently as a possible way to save the state money. But the people who floated the suggestion also acknowledged that it’s a bit of a long shot.

Turning to face the water behind her, Roxanne White recalled her ancestors’ memories of the Columbia River.

“At one point, if you can imagine, they would say you could walk off the backs of the salmon across the river,” said White, a Yakama Nation descendant. “Now they’re so minimal, and they’re sick. Just like our mother earth; just like our water.” 

The rare but ever-present risk of a tsunami has worried people along the Pacific Northwest coast for years. Different communities are working on moving critical facilities to higher ground.

There has been a lot of talk about potential Russian manipulation of the 2016 presidential election. Now there's concern about shadowy online electioneering filtering down to the state and local level. It comes in the aftermath of a high-stakes state Senate race in Western Washington.

Nike has entered into a new contract with the University of Washington that includes changes to its overseas factory inspections.
Flickr Photo/Open Grid Scheduler (CC0 1.0) https://flic.kr/p/wCUd4F

The University of Washington has agreed to a contract with Nike that's expected to set a new industry standard. The contract allows a watchdog group, Worker Rights Consortium, to investigate problem factories.


Voters in Gearhart, Oregon, sent a decisive message this week about limiting vacation rentals in neighborhoods. The Oregon beach town is the first Northwest place to hold a vote of the people on an issue that's cropping up in city councils across the region.

 Wildlife advocates want Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to reopen an investigation into an elk hunter’s shooting of a wolf in Eastern Oregon, which was initially ruled self-defense.

In the weeks since, potential discrepancies in the evidence and the account from Oregon State Police have been raised by wolf advocates, a prominent wolf biologist and former Fish and Wildlife Service trapper, as well as a former district attorney in Oregon.

Washington lawmakers will return to the Capitol next week for “Committee Days” in advance of next January’s regular legislative session. Distracted driving and salmon net pens will be on the agenda.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the retrial of former Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley.

The Interior Department is set on changing up an Obama-era plan to protect greater sage grouse. That’s given stakeholders in the high-desert Northwest a lot to reconsider.

For more than 10 years, ranchers, conservationists and government agencies worked on a plan to keep the greater sage grouse off the endangered species list. That hard-fought compromise led to what many hoped would be a new way to protect species on the brink.

It’s a windy, snowy day in early November, and my boots keep slipping on the asphalt-paved Alta Vista trail that leads up away from the visitor center at Mount Rainier’s Paradise.

In the summer, this trail winds through wildflower meadows — but, even so, it’s the least used of any of the trails that start at Paradise. Jim Ziolkowski, my reluctant guide to Alta Vista, says that’s because it’s in such bad repair.

Jenny Durkan at her election night party on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2017
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

If it seems more women jumped into politics this year, experts say that's true. Washington state will now have female mayors up and down Interstate 5, including in Seattle, Everett, Lynnwood, Kent and Vancouver.

Earlier this year, a gray whale calf died after getting tangled in crab pot lines near Seaview, Washington. Now commercial and tribal crab fishermen from the Washington coast have agreed to form a working group to discuss how to reduce the risk of a repeat.

Later this week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will discuss how the West Coast can push a progressive agenda to curb carbon emissions.

For years, Inslee — who has been called the green governor — has pushed to tax his state’s biggest polluters. But with a Republican-controlled state Senate, the ambitious plan languished.

On Tuesday, Republicans lost their one-vote majority in the Washington state Senate, giving Democrats control of the “great blue wall": full control over the legislatures across the West Coast in Oregon, Washington and California.

Washington state is proposing changes to how winery wastewater is handled. And that could mean consumers are in for some “bottle shock” when their favorite Washington wine gets more expensive.

This is a guest post by Claire Schoen, a producer, documentary filmmaker, and the creator of  the Stepping Up podcast.

“Laughter is the best medicine.” Like every cliché, this old adage springs from a kernel of truth. And in these distressing political times, a good dose of laughter may be just what the doctor ordered.

An initiative that would have fined rail cars carrying uncovered coal and certain kinds of oil through the heart of Spokane failed last Tuesday. Opponents of the measure say voters were concerned about the local economy, while supporters say they were simply outspent.

Manka Dhingra greets supporters at her Election Night party on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Tuesday night’s results put Democrat Manka Dhingra ahead of Republican Jinyoung Englund by double digits in a race for a state Senate seat in Seattle’s northeastern suburbs.

Englund has not conceded the race in the 45th district. But Dhingra’s supporters say they have flipped the Senate to Democratic control.

Rosa Melendez, right, points toward Jenny Durkan as she thanks her volunteers on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, at The Westin in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Tuesday’s election results gave Jenny Durkan a formidable 21-point lead over rival Cary Moon. At the Westin hotel in downtown Seattle, Durkan celebrated the news without declaring victory.

But Durkan said she’s also preparing for a rapid transition to the mayor’s office.

Ben Doko cheers with other supporters as Jenny Durkan gives a speech on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, at The Westin in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan has taken a commanding 21-point lead in the Seattle mayor's race against urban planner Cary Moon. KUOW’s Paige Browning speaks with reporter David Hyde, who was out covering the race on election night.

File: King County, Wash. Sheriff John Urquhart testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The King County sheriff's race has been a bitter one.

And the first results show challenger Mitzi Johanknecht leading incumbent John Urquhart with roughly 52 percent of the vote.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Just south of Seattle, the immigration debate took center stage in a closely watched election.

In Burien, four out of seven City Council seats were up for election. And three were still a tossup after initial vote results Tuesday night.

Voters in Spokane, Washington, are saying no to an initiative regulating coal and oil shipments through the heart of the city. The initiative would have fined companies that ship uncovered coal and certain types of oil through the city.

Don Orange will be the next Port of Vancouver commissioner. Initial results Tuesday night show Orange won 64.58 percent, beating candidate Kris Greene.

Orange's victory is likely a death knell for a massive oil terminal that's been proposed at the port for years. 

Democrats had the early advantage in the race for control of the Washington state Senate as Democrat Manka Dhingra led Republican Jinyoung Englund by 10 points in a special election on the eastside of Lake Washington.

Jenny Durkan waves to supporters after giving a speech on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, at The Westin in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Update 11/8/2017, 4:15 p.m.

Jenny Durkan has won the race for Seattle mayor. 

She had a strong lead on opponent Cary Moon after initial results Tuesday night, and Moon did not make up ground after the latest results were posted Wednesday afternoon.

An Oregon lawmaker said she’ll introduce a bill next year to clarify that consensual sex between teenagers does not need to be reported to state authorities.

In 2015, University of Washington biologist Elli Theobald and her fellow researchers caught a glimpse of the future.

"The climate conditions in that year happened to mimic what we expect the climate conditions to be in the 2080s under unabated climate change," Theobald says.

Different flower species responded differently to the hot, dry weather. Some flowered a little earlier. Others flowered a lot earlier. Some flowered for a shorter time. And others flowered for a longer time.

Jim Loter documented building a backyard cottage in Seattle. Here's a picture from day 25: erecting the walls.
Flickr Photo/Jim L (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/s/aHsju5PWuH

Seattle officials are conducting an environmental review of the entire city to look at the possible impacts of building more backyard cottages. Some lawmakers want to make it easier for homeowners to build them.

Residents can weigh in now on the scope of that environmental review.

MOHAI, Cary W. Tolman Photographs, [2002.68.9.10]

In the 1960s, an era when activism across racial lines was uncommon, four Seattle activists became allies. They were called the Gang of Four.

Larry Gossett, Roberto Maestas, Bernie Whitebear and Bob Santos collaborated and supported each other’s efforts throughout their activism careers.

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