Carolyn Adolph | KUOW News and Information

Carolyn Adolph

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2008

Carolyn covers Seattle’s growth and the challenges people have in meeting the regional economy’s shifting demands. She came to KUOW after careers at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Montreal Gazette and the Toronto Star. She is a graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She studied Economics at the University of California, Davis, and the Cultural Impact of Technological Change at the University of Washington.

Latest Award:  Runner Up, SPJ Investigative Audio Reporting with John Ryan, 2016. 

Email cadolph@kuow.org

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Dow Constantine
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

There is more evidence that the middle class is shrinking in metropolitan Seattle. A report from the Pew Research Center says the middle class has slipped by 7 percent since 2000 to just over half the region’s households. 

Here’s where our region is different from the overall trend: the households replacing those in the middle class here are mostly richer, not poorer. 

Economy reporter Carolyn Adolph discusses this issue with King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Progress at last on the tunnel being built to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Alaskan Way Viaduct is back in operation after a closure that was supposed to last two weeks, but only lasted for a week and a bit.

It’s a surprise, and not the kind we are used to from Bertha, the tunnel borer that could, then couldn’t, and now apparently can. Bertha's bearings and seals were damaged early on, forcing the Seattle Tunnel Partners to haul it to the surface for a massive repair that completed just a few months ago.


In this Nov. 11, 2013 file photo Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, center, adjusts his glasses as he prepares to sign legislation in Seattle to help keep production of Boeing's new 777X in Washington.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

Boeing’s mega-tax breaks have focused public attention on the state legislature’s decisions to forgo tax revenues.

The legislature offers more than 600 different types of tax breaks to businesses in the state.

Half of the workplace deaths involved people over the age of 50 – not people who died of heart attacks, but people who fell or injured themselves on the job.
KUOW photo

Worker Memorial Day, the day Washington State honors people who lost their lives on the job, is this Thursday.

Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, walks past a projected display showing Bill Gates, lower left, and himself, during a discussion of Nokia's Lumia 920, equipped with Microsoft's Windows Phone 8, Sept. 5, 2012 in New York.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Microsoft stock is taking a hit after failing to deliver on financial market expectations. One reason is the Windows Phone. 

The company reported  its earnings after markets closed, saying quarterly profit was 62 cents per share. Analysts had expected 64 cents per share. The stock fell by about 5 percent to almost $53 in after-hours trading.

File Photo Courtesy Boeing

The 787 Dreamliner has been billed as Boeing’s “game changing” plane, with fuel efficiency that would help Boeing win its competition with Airbus.  Now Wall Street is starting to give up on a profit for the plane.

Preschool teacher Cindy Bly opens class at Quinsigamond School in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Many of the pupils in the school come from economically stressed families. Achievement here is ranked in the bottom fifth of the state.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

In Washington state, we look at Massachusetts with envy.

Massachusetts has a top-ranked education system, whereas Washington is in the lower middle.

Martha Guise is the principal of Century High School in Hillsboro, a Portland suburb. She says class sizes at her school are around 34 — much higher than desired.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

For all Washington's fretting over state funding for education, there are people in Oregon who would love to have Washington's problems.

OfferUp website shows goods being offered near the user.
Screen grab 4/14/2016

A Bellevue startup wants to move in on the buy-and-sell market created by Craigslist. Private investors seem to think OfferUp could do it: They have estimated the company's value at more than $800 million.

Demonstrators on the steps of the Temple of Justice advocate for more state spending on education, Sept. 3, 2014, in Olympia. The court ordered lawmakers to explain why they haven't followed its orders to fix the way Washington pays for public education.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Washington Governor Jay Inslee must sign the supplemental budget next week. When he does sign it, that action touches off a series of deadlines in the McCleary case.

House Finance Chair Reuven Carlyle, left, and Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter unveiled a two-year budget proposal and tax package designed to satisfy a Supreme Court ruling on K-12 funding, March 27, 2015.
AP Photo/Rachel La Corte

Washington state relies heavily on a sales tax for state revenue. More than 40 states in the union rely on both a sales tax and an income tax. Now there is fresh insight about what that means for Washington state compared to its neighbors.

Andrew Layton is a barista at Java Hound, on Portland's stylish NW 23rd Ave. He knows how much taxes he pays.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

In Oregon, the state tax system puts the burden more on the rich than the poor.

Washington state is the opposite: Part-time workers pay up to 24 percent of their earnings in taxes, and people at the high end of the wage scale pay around 5 percent.

KUOW Graphic/Kara McDermott

Washington has to pony up $3.5 billion for basic education – but how the heck is that going to happen?

A back-of-the-envelope calculation by the Department of Revenue makes the solution look simple: Be like Oregon – or Idaho – and get an income tax.

Engineers told state legislatures in 1995 that the Alaskan Way Viaduct would crumble in a major quake. The project to replace the Viaduct is underway but still incomplete.
Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

When a major quake hit San Francisco in 1989, the Cypress Street Viaduct collapsed, killing 42 people.

The next day, Washington state officials saw images of the viaduct. To their horror, it looked almost identical to the Alaskan Way Viaduct on Seattle’s waterfront.

Miranda Redinger, Shoreline city planner, at the Shoreline Center, a former high school that she says is likely to be redeveloped once the transit station gets running.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Shoreline, just north of Seattle, is a classic suburb facing a very urban challenge.

It is gaining a light rail station at 185th Street and I-5. And that new station is kicking off a vast redevelopment that will change the shape of the city. In all, 1,400 homes have been rezoned for a densified redevelopment that will change this part of the city into something that looks as though it were born in Seattle.

File photo: Washington Corrections Center for Women
KUOW Photo/Kevin P. Casey

  A second tragedy is now linked to a Washington state prison inmate who was released before his sentence was completed due to a software error. The Department of Corrections said a 17-year-old boy was killed during a robbery in Spokane last May.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife step out of a Boeing 747 at Everett's Paine Field. China made a splash with its announcement in September that China would buy Boeing planes for its growing air passenger market.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

China's largest airline says it will buy 80 Boeing 737 jets made in Renton.

But many won't be ready for passengers when they take off.

Washington Courts

Remember when the state Supreme Court fined the state $100,000 a day for failing to fund basic education?

That was last summer, and the fines now add up to about $12 million. So far, Washington state hasn’t paid a dime.

Port of Seattle cranes loom overhead. After a port slowdown last year, retailers and growers are trying to repair the damage of lost business.
Flickr Photo/Dennis Hamilton (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1SxOe9r

The port slowdown may have ended last year, but it has raised the question: How can we prevent this from happening again?

The answer, say national retailers, is to negotiate the port workers' contracts sooner.

Flickr Photo/ Thilo M. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/HTTP://BIT.LY/1SBLFKZ

Most cities want to control their own destiny. Shoreline, just north of Seattle, is no exception. But now a deal it hoped would help distinguish it from Seattle has fallen apart.

Tim Porter and Matt McIlwain of Madrona Venture Group, a heavy funder of Seattle's cloud startups
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Seattle has become the center of a giant, invisible, global business, with Amazon and Microsoft as its core.

That business is the cloud, now estimated to be worth more than $15 billion to those two companies, which have become world leaders.

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Brenda punched through the wall on Friday.

She’s the boring machine that cut a light rail tunnel from Northgate to Roosevelt and now has made it to the future station in Seattle's University District.

KUOW and KPLU are likely to become one. Pacific Lutheran University has announced the intent to sell.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Being asked to pay extra for transit or schools is a regular event for Seattle voters. In Tuesday's election, they backed the $930 million Move Seattle levy.

So it’s a logical question: Are Seattle taxpayers carrying a heavier tax burden than people in other major U.S. cities?

Marion Yoshino, left, and Fred Felleman are vying for a spot on the Port Commission. Both opposed the port's support of Shell Oil's drilling ventures in the Arctic.
KUOW Photos/Carolyn Adolph

There was public outrage this year when the Port of Seattle agreed to service Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet.

Voters made their voices heard in the August primary by choosing two people who campaigned against the oil giant.

These boots make a point:  sales tax was $15.36, meaning a person paid Seattle's minimum wage works an hour just to pay state and local taxes. A higher-paid worker pays proportionally less.
KUOW Feet & Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Seattle’s surging economy continues to cause concerns about affordability.

Monday afternoon, the Seattle Transit riders union held a rally to bring attention to the need for a more equitable standard of living in the city.

But some of the reasons why people struggle in Seattle are deeply ingrained.

Illustration by Drew Christie

What is the history of Washington state's political allergy to an income tax? Steven Thomson of Olympia posed this question to KUOW's Local Wonder.

We had an income tax once in Washington state.

It was during the Great Depression, and a lot of people were down and out.

People were so excited about the income tax that they voted twice. First, they changed the state constitution to allow the tax. Then voters approved the tax – 70 percent in favor.

A woman is taken to an ambulance on the Aurora Bridge after the crash Thursday.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

They came to Seattle from around the world: Austria, China, Indonesia and Japan. 

They died on the Aurora Bridge on Thursday.

They were mourned at North Seattle College on Friday, where some students said they were frightened by the collision between a large tourist vehicle known as “the Duck” and a bus.

An injured person is taken from the scene of the Aurora Bridge bus crash on Sept. 24, 2015
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

UPDATE, 3;10 p.m.: A duck amphibious tour vehicle swerved into a charter bus carrying international students on the Aurora Bridge Thursday. At least four people died and dozens were injured, emergency officials said.

At least 44 people were taken to hospitals.

People form a greeting line as Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife step out of a Boeing 747 at Everett's Paine Field.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The tech and business leaders meeting with President Xi Jinping in Seattle this week know a lot about doing business in China — the risks as well as the opportunities.

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Seattle has become the latest landing place for a wave of Chinese investments – much of it coming through a controversial investor visa program called EB-5.

EB-5 is bringing construction money and jobs to the Seattle economy. But it may also have brought spies, fraudsters and absconders to our region. Now the fate of the program is just as murky, as it could expire at the end of the month.

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