John Ryan | KUOW News and Information

John Ryan

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2009

John welcomes story ideas and feedback from listeners. Email him at jryan@kuow.org or call him at 206-543-0637. For secure, confidential communication, he's at 1-401-405-1206 on the Signal messaging app, or you can send snail mail (but don't put your return address on the outside) to John Ryan, KUOW, 4518 Univ. Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105.

Good thing John was a clumsy traveler.

Otherwise his cheap microcassette recorder wouldn't have fallen out of his pocket in an Indonesian taxi, a generous BBC stringer wouldn't have lent him some professional recording gear, and he wouldn't have gotten the radio bug. But after pointing a mic at rare jungle songbirds and gong–playing grandmothers for his first radio story, there was no turning back.

In the past decade, he's freelanced for shows such as All Things Considered, Living on Earth, Marketplace and The World. He also continued his print career by reporting for newspapers including the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times and Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

In 2009, John moved back to Seattle after two exciting years covering avalanches, political intrigue and just about everything in between for KTOO FM, the NPR station in Alaska's capital city.

John has won national awards for KUOW as a freelancer (check out "As the Sound Churns") and now as a staff reporter, including the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi awards for Public Service in Radio Journalism and for Investigative Reporting. He believes democracy only works when journalism holds the powerful accountable for their words and actions. 

In addition to the recent stories below, John's KUOW stories from September 2012 and before are archived here.

Ways to Connect

An unreinforced masonry wall fails a shake test at the University of British Columbia
Courtesy of UBC

Seattle has 1,100 old brick buildings that are especially vulnerable to collapsing in a big earthquake. Few have been retrofitted to withstand a major seismic event.

Now researchers at the University of British Columbia say they’ve come up with a cheap, fast way to reinforce such buildings: spray them with bendable concrete.

Washington state Department of Natural Resources

A state-ordered inspection has found "severe corrosion" at another Atlantic salmon farm in Puget Sound, this one along the ferry route between Bremerton and Seattle.


KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Dozens of the worst hazardous-waste sites in the Northwest are not being cleaned up, for lack of personnel to do the job, according to a report from the inspector general of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Jeff Simpson at his home outside Portland, Oregon.
Thomas Teal for The Stranger, licensed for KUOW

Survivors and accusers of sexual abuse welcomed Mayor Ed Murray’s resignation — but not the news that a fifth person claimed that Murray had sexually abused him.

Jeff Simpson of Portland said Tuesday evening that he’s elated.

A wild Pacific salmon, left, next to an escaped farm-raised Atlantic salmon, right, on Aug. 22 at Home Port Seafoods in Bellingham.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Cooke Aquaculture and state officials knew at least six months ago that the floating salmon farm that collapsed in August was "nearing the end of serviceable life," with accelerating corrosion eating away at its hinges and steel structure.

Aboard fishing vessel Marathon, Nathan Cultee, right, and Nicholas Cooke, left, unload 16 farm-raised Atlantic salmon into a container after a day of fishing on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at Home Port Seafood in Bellingham.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It was a convenient explanation.


Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has made a name for himself this year by battling the Trump administration in court. Now he wants to take on tribal governments at the U.S. Supreme Court over salmon.

President Donald Trump talks with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg upon his arrival on Air Force One at Charleston International Airport in North Charleston, S.C., Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Update 11 a.m., 8/16/2017: Two more CEOs — from 3M and Campbell's Soup — quit President Donald Trump's manufacturing council Wednesday. Trump then announced he was disbanding the council entirely.

Beach-goers in Seattle enjoy a Puget Sound shore in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

While the Trump administration aims to slash funding for environmental protection nationwide and eliminate funding for cleaning up Puget Sound, the Republican-controlled Congress hasn’t seen things the same way.

KUOW/John Ryan

Eleven states including Washington have sued the Trump administration to improve safety at the nation’s refineries and chemical plants.

The lawsuit, led by New York's Attorney General, aims to force the Environmental Protection Agency to revive safety rules enacted in the final days of the Obama administration.

The crowd at a 2016 public meeting in Tacoma rises when asked to stand if they oppose the proposed methanol plant.
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Environmental issues haven't been a big focus in the race to become Seattle's next mayor, but they're playing a key role in Tacoma.

Adhering to Seattle's climate action plan would require reducing tailpipe exhaust 15 times faster than the 0.5 percent a year Seattle has actually achieved.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle leaders love to talk about fighting climate change.

KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

The agency that manages Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks will see big budget cuts, if the Trump administration has its way.


Screenshot from appropriations.house.gov

Both Democrats and Republicans pushed back against cuts proposed for the U.S. Department of Energy when Energy Secretary Rick Perry came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Washington state Republicans criticized Trump administration proposals to lop one-fourth off efforts to clean up radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and sell off much of the Northwest’s high-voltage power grid.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
WH.gov

President Donald Trump's proposal to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency faced a tough crowd Thursday.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had come to Congress to sell the budget.

Kwiaht

The Bureau of Land Management will not allow an archaeological dig at Iceberg Point in the San Juan Islands this summer after officials got an earful from residents concerned about possible impacts to the popular area.

SEIU organizer Patience Malaba leads a protest while Amazon shareholders enter the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Seattle in May.
KUOW Photo / John Ryan

Big companies often tout the good they’re doing for the planet. Reducing energy use, buying green energy, things like that. But they often reveal much less about the harm they do.

Like Amazon. With its data centers, warehouses and delivery trucks, the computing and retail giant has grown into one of the nation’s biggest users of energy.


Microsoft is trying to put the brakes on its greenhouse gas emissions.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

It’s rush hour in Wallingford, and commuters are stepping off a bus, closing up their laptops and heading into the evening sun. It’s not public transit. It’s a Microsoft Connector bus.

Tesoro workers killed in a 2010 refinery explosion are commemorated outside city hall in Everett, Washington.
KUOW Photo / Bond Huberman

The largest workplace-safety fine in Washington history has been overturned.

A state appeals judge on Friday rejected a $2.4 million fine that oil company Tesoro faced after an explosion that killed seven workers in Anacortes.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
WH.gov

While President Trump was announcing that the United States would exit the Paris climate agreement in a ceremony at the White House, Environmental Protection Agency staff were being told to prepare for jobs to evaporate at the agency.

WH.gov

President Trump invoked the needs of American businesses and energy users when he announced Thursday that he was pulling the country out of the Paris climate accords.


Spawning salmon
US Bureau of Land Management

Salmon are starting to lose their sense of smell and their fear of predators, according to research from federal and university scientists in Seattle.


U.S. Bureau of Land Management

The Trump administration has given an initial thumbs-up to a plan to dig holes throughout a meadow of rare wildflowers inside the San Juan Islands National Monument.

It’s not part of any effort to eliminate the monument: It’s part of local tribes’ efforts to improve their diets and revive old traditions.

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee before a meeting Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Seattle. The two were to discuss trade, regional economic development, and climate.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Seattle Wednesday, protesters rallied on the steps of the Canadian consulate downtown.

The Native and environmental activists were protesting pipelines Trudeau approved in November, including the Trans Mountain pipeline that would multiply oil tanker traffic through British Columbia and Washington waters up to sevenfold.

KUOW/John Ryan photo

The Trump administration has given a new lease on life to a massive Alaskan gold and copper mine that the Obama administration rejected in 2014.

Georgia Tech

To the list of global problems the world’s oceans are facing, you can add another: They’re losing oxygen.

The Pacific Ocean off the U.S. West Coast, from central California to Alaska, is one of the hardest-hit areas.


'Direct action' trainer Ximena Velazquez-Arenas runs past some of the people she's training. Tap on this photo to see more images from the training.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Environmentalists concerned that lobbying and polite marches have failed to weaken America’s reliance on fossil fuels have started turning to more confrontational approaches.


President Donald Trump, accompanied by from left, Vice President Mike Pence, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, speaks at EPA headquarters in Washington, March 28.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The Trump administration has lifted a hiring freeze for federal agencies, but not at the Environmental Protection Agency, according to internal documents obtained by KUOW.

Trump proposed cutting the environmental agency's budget by 31 percent, more than at any major federal agency, and scrapping 56 programs there, including funding for Puget Sound restoration.

KUOW/John Ryan photo

Have you ever left a job where you were tempted to tell off your boss on your way out? After working for a quarter century at the Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Cox didn’t hold his tongue.


Attendees of the Mar. 4 Spirit of America Rally in Olympia, a pro-Trump event organized by Tacoma Narrows Tea Party coordinator Peggy Hutt (center) of Gig Harbor.
Photo courtesy Peggy Hutt

Donald Trump’s election galvanized a wave of activism on the left, including the women’s march that some political scientists say was the largest in American history.

Campaigners on the right say they’ve been energized by the election as well, even here in deep-blue Puget Sound.


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