Anna King | KUOW News and Information

Anna King

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Triââ

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday signed legislation aimed at helping workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation. The law will allow workers who have been exposed to toxic chemicals or radioactive waste more easily access compensation for medical treatment.

The National Academy of Sciences is conducting days of meetings in Richland, Washington, this week. On the agenda is what to do with a lot of liquid radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

A doctor from Richland, Washington, Monday was awarded the U.S. Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. It’s an honor that is often bestowed upon U.S. presidents.

The recent bite of arctic air is causing real worry for Northwest fruit farmers. They’re fretting over their trees’ tender buds. And it all might get worse as things warm up.

As many as 11 workers may have ingested or inhaled radioactive contamination at the Plutonium Finishing Plant demolition site at Hanford in southeast Washington state. Ten workers are confirmed to have tested positive and one needs more testing to confirm the results.

Hanford workers have called a “stop work” at the Plutonium Finishing Plant demolition site because of worries about radioactive contamination inside government vehicles.

East of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon, it’s been about five to 10 degrees warmer than normal for most of the winter. Those unusually warm conditions have buds on fruit trees and grapevines starting to “push,” or emerge early.

And that has farmers worried.

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 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.

The emergency seems to be over for now at the slow-moving landslide at Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington. The state has taken down the warning signs and lights on the highway below.

But for some, the drive is still nerve wracking. They’ve coined a phrase for driving quickly past the slide: “Shooting the Gap.”

Lew Zirkle, a doctor in Richland, Washington, works with thousands of surgeons all over the world to treat injuries in poor or war-ravaged countries. He will receive the U.S. Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service—the highest honor the Defense department gives to a non-career civilian—by Secretary James Mattis later this month.

Starting Thursday, residents who were evacuated for the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide near Yakima, Washington, can go back home. That’s after a new study by a geology firm hired by the state said the slide could take years—or even decades—to come down.

Washington health officials penned an uncommonly stern letter to the U.S. Department of Energy this week. It details concerns over the radioactive contamination spread at a Hanford demolition site.

The five-page letter highlights six main issues the state has with the management of the demolition at the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant. 

The landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington, is likely going to be a slow one—it could take years or decades to fully come down. That’s the upshot of a new independent geology report commissioned by the state.

Radioactive waste keeps spreading at a demolition site at Hanford. This week, officials have found more contamination on a worker’s boot, on a work trailer and a personal vehicle.

Now, a rental car that’s possibly contaminated has ended up in Spokane. It’s now on a trailer headed back to the Tri-Cities for testing. 


The slow-moving landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge in Washington's Yakima Valley points to a larger problem plaguing the region—affordable housing. When residents were told to move away from their homes in the slide area, there were few places to go.

The slow-moving landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge in Washington's Yakima Valley points to a larger problem plaguing the region—affordable housing. When residents were told to move away from their homes in the slide area, there were few places to go.

Top state health officials are concerned that radioactive waste in the air is spreading around the Hanford site in southeast Washington. It’s mostly from that same demolition site that’s contaminated two workers, dozens of vehicles and closed down nearby offices.

Two Hanford workers have tested positive for radioactive waste in their bodies. It happened at the Plutonium Finishing Plant—a massive factory being demolished at the nuclear cleanup site in southeast Washington state.

The Yakama Nation is asking Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency for the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide. It’s a steep slope outside of Yakima that is moving slowly and clings above a small community, a railroad corridor, Interstate 82 and the Yakima River.

The tribes have a lot to lose if it goes down.

The landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge outside of Yakima, Washington, is turning into a slow grind. The land is moving at a constant 1.7 feet per week.

After huge cracks appeared on Rattlesnake Ridge last year, geologists expect a landslide is coming at the mountain near Yakima, Washington. But they are having a hard time nailing down just when it will go.

The discovery of an "overwhelming presence" of radon gas has forced more than 100 workers at the Hanford Site to move their offices Thursday. This follows a series of radioactive contamination issues at that same demolition project on the southeast Washington nuclear site.

Nearly 70 people live on a sliver of land wedged between Interstate 82 and Rattlesnake Ridge in central Washington state. A massive chunk of the ridge is moving, and cracking, and geologists say it will likely cause a landslide.

Emergency meetings are underway to discuss the threat of a possible landslide near Yakima, Washington. Dozens of federal, state, county and tribal officials are trying to work out a plan as this threat looms. 


Near the town of Union Gap in South Central Washington state, a massive chunk of Rattlesnake Ridge is moving ever more quickly.

Geologists say it will likely cause a landslide. And when does come fully down, it could take out roads, infrastructure and in the worst-case scenario, dam up the Yakima River.

Officials in Yakima County, Washington, are strongly urging residents living below a shifting mountainside near Union Gap to evacuate. 



A huge crack that appeared on Rattlesnake Ridge last year is beginning to widen.

The area and amount of stuff contaminated by radioactive waste at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state keeps getting bigger.

First it was two cars. Then it was eight. The count is now 14 vehicles that are contaminated with radioactive waste. Half of them are personal cars. One is even contaminated on the inside. 

Upper managers didn’t know that some radioactive waste had gotten outside of bounds at a Hanford demolition site for more than a day. And that delay could have worsened the spread of contamination.

When workers found radioactive waste in areas where it shouldn’t have been, they did everything right. Everything, except notify higher managers. And that delay could have worsened the spread.

Monday’s train derailment, is gumming up a several big shipping-distribution centers in DuPont, Washington. Workers are having trouble running their last-minute Santa-truck routes.

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