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In farm fields from the Willamette Valley to the Kittitas Valley and east to Idaho, energy developers want to plant a new crop: commercial solar arrays. But a surge in utility-scale solar farm applications is generating pushback.

Workers pour concrete for a floor of an office tower in Renton. Pouring concrete carries a lot of risk for workers.
KUOW Photo/Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Around Seattle, you might think more workers are getting hurt given that construction is booming.


Men exit the Abu-Bakr Islamic Center after prayer on Friday, April 20, 2018, in Tukwila.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

For years, Tukwila’s stretch of highway 99 was known for its crime: drug sales, prostitution, burglaries and violence. Then one morning in 2013, hundreds of police officers raided the old motels where most of those crimes were happening.

Mohammed Jama ran a small shop next to the motels. He’s part of the large Somali and refugee community centered around the Abu Bakr mosque in Tukwila. 

He told us the raid changed his life.


De'Sean Quinn shows his prized possession: the key to one of the motels that used to dominate Tukwila's stretch of the old highway 99.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Everything had to work perfectly.


Two embattled Washington state representatives have filed to run for re-election—despite ongoing investigations into their conduct.

Democrat David Sawyer of Tacoma and Republican Matt Manweller of Ellensburg both registered their candidacies with the Secretary of State’s office on Monday, the first day of filing week.

The National Weather Service is concerned about this week’s warm weather rapidly melting snow upstream of Leavenworth, Washington, this week. There may also be storms on the way.

A number of rivers in north central and eastern Washington are in imminent danger of flooding. That’s because spring temperatures have soared into the upper 80s and Canada’s near record snowpack is melting fast.

Flooding hasn’t been this bad in the Okanogan Valley since 1972. This week, forecasters say, it could get close to breaking that record.

Okanogan County Fire District Commissioner Jack Denison said that’s a “worst case scenario.”

Seattle's Department of Finance and Administrative Services has approved a new three year contract with Wells Fargo.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/okhmqR

Breaking up is hard — especially if you're a city trying to break up with a bank.

Especially if the other banks aren't all that interested in dating you.


A group of senators from western states want to expand a national effort to boost timber production and restore natural conditions on overstocked forests using thinning and other restoration work.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, would extend the Forest Service’s expiring Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program for the next 10 years and double its annual budget to $80 million.

Emily McArthur reacts on Monday, May 14, 2018, during the head tax vote at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The head tax is happening — but the weakened version passed by the Seattle City Council today won't address the scale of the housing crisis, some council members say.


Oregon To Replace 450 Old Diesel School Buses

May 14, 2018

The state of Oregon will pay to replace 450 old diesel school buses using some of the $72.9 million dollars it expects to receive through the Volkswagen emissions cheating court settlement.

About 2,800 of Oregon's diesel school buses were built before 2007, which means they release far more pollution than newer buses. The older buses could be replaced with newer diesel buses, or with alternative vehicles powered by natural gas or electricity.

Gamblers throughout the country got good news Monday, as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that banned sports betting in most states. That could lead to new betting options in Oregon and Washington, if legislators decide to allow betting on team sports in those states.

This stretch of 99 is looking more walkable today because Tukwila took it from the state.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It started with street trees. Tukwila wanted to plant some along state Route 99 to slow down traffic and beautify the area.

But the state said no. Trees, it turned out, were not safe, at least not as safe as lamp posts. 


SLIDESHOW: Sea Gals hopeful Kiana stretches before the final auditions on Sunday, May 13, 2018, at the CenturyLink Field West Club Lounge in Seattle. Tap or click on the first image to see more.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The 2018 Sea Gals squad has been determined. Of the 52 Sea Gals hopefuls that competed on Sunday during the final round of auditions, only 28 dancers made the team. 

Towns in central and northeast Washington are under flood watches as rivers swell from rapid snowmelt in the mountains.

In the small Washington border town of Oroville, the Okanogan River is above flood stage and the river is expected to begin flooding south as the week progresses.

A nearly 100 year-old dam near Leavenworth, Washington, is under heavy pressure from melting snow this week and officials are warning downstream residents to be prepared to evacuate if the dam breaks.

Ronda Broatch

News stories can be disturbing sometimes, but KUOW has a way to help process these stories.

We call it #NewsPoet — and it involves a Pacific Northwest poet writing an original piece inspired by one of our stories.

Today we revisit the story about the last man to be put to death by Washington state.


Proposed 'marine park' at Seattle Center, 1966
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/241yeWL

Fifty years ago, Seattle was trying to decide what do with its center attraction in the wake of the World’s Fair.

One man came forward with the idea of privately-funded plan marine park. Think SeaWorld at the heart of Seattle – complete with a captive orca to perform shows.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency for nearly all of Central and Eastern Washington. 20 counties are facing heavy flooding as rapidly melting snow makes its way into rivers and streams.

Volunteers count the number of people experiencing homelessness during the annual King County Point-In-Time count on Friday, January 25, 2018, in Pioneer Square.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Is Seattle the sort of place where, if you can’t afford it, there’s no room for you?


For the last several years, Washington state lawmakers have been working on a response to a state Supreme Court order to fully fund schools. Now they’re signaling a shift to the next big challenge: mental health.

At a news conference Friday at Western State Hospital, Republican state Sen. Steve O’Ban framed Washington’s mental health crisis this way:

“I kind of think of this as, this is a bad analogy perhaps, but McCleary Two,” he said.

Tukwila International Boulevard, which was once highway 99, is at the heart of our Tukwila reporting.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Tukwila, a small city of about 20,000 people, punches above its weight.

That's partly because it's willing to throw elbows around, seizing property by any legal means necessary in order to turn an aging remnant of highway 99 into the dense, walkable neighborhood many officials want. The technique is effective, but it can leave bruises.


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

Kim Malcolm talks with news analyst Joni Balter about why the head tax proposed by the Seattle City Council puts Mayor Jenny Durkan in a politically tricky position. Balter is a contributor to Bloomberg Opinion and host of Civic Cocktail on the Seattle Channel.

The complex and ever-changing time signatures of Sama Dams' new song “Pockets” almost feels more appropriate for a jazz trio.

“But it’s still pop [music] and they never forget that,” says Jerad Walker, music director of OPB Music.


Jenny Durkan
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has proposed a compromise tax on large businesses that would pay to ease the city’s affordable housing shortage and homelessness crisis.

Specially trained rescuers have managed to free a whale that was tangled in fishing gear off the Washington coast. But they say the prognosis for the young gray whale is "guarded."

Two of Washington state’s top elected prosecutors say the state is failing to adequately address an epidemic of drug addiction. They say it’s a major contributor to crime, but also to homelessness.

If you somehow still need proof that a movement to outlaw military-style, semi-automatic weapons in Oregon is a big deal, look no further than Dennis Richardson’s inbox.

In what is likely a record, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office in recent weeks fielded nearly 1,600 pages of comments criticizing a ballot title for Initiative Petition 43.

It’s a record year for flooding in northeastern Washington as spring runoff makes its way into the region’s rivers.

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