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

Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research

An endangered killer whale has gone missing and is presumed dead, but it's not the only orca in trouble in Washington waters.

Eight local orcas have died in just the past two years. 


A container ship at the Port of Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Bari Bookout (CC-BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6kUVcr

The world's biggest cargo ships, some a quarter-mile long, could be docking regularly near downtown Seattle before long.

After four years' study, the Army Corps of Engineers has given the okay to digging deeper shipping channels around Harbor Island at the mouth of the Duwamish River.

KUOW Photo / John Ryan

Complaints have poured in over the yellow, green and orange bikes that have sprouted like mushrooms across Seattle, yet 74 percent of Seattleites have a favorable opinion of the rapidly expanding bike share program, according to a Seattle Department of Transportation survey.


A parking spot for electric vehicles outside of the Ballard Market
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Washington state’s electric vehicle law is being widely ignored, according to a new report.

Friday is the deadline set by a decade-old law that requires vehicles in government fleets to run on electricity or biofuel. But just two percent of the state's motor pool is electric now, and many cities and counties have no electric vehicles at all.

It’s all because of one big catch in the law.

 


A file photo of a member of Puget Sound's Swinomish tribe participating in a ceremonial salmon blessing. Northwest tribes hold vigils along the Columbia River to pray for the return of salmon.
KCTS9 Photo/Katie Campbell

Tribal leaders on both sides of the border said Canada's purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline would not weaken their opposition to the pipeline's planned expansion.

The project would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta tar sands through British Columbia and increase oil tanker traffic through Puget Sound.

The High Mercury tanker in Haro Strait between San Juan and Vancouver islands on Feb. 15.
Courtesy of Jane Cogan

Two Canadian provinces’ feud over an oil pipeline could boost gasoline prices and oil tanker traffic here in Washington state.


Oysters, mussels and clams are shown on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, at City Fish Co. at Pike Place Market in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

If you take legal or illegal drugs, or even flush them down the toilet unused, there's a good chance they'll wind up in Puget Sound.

Now there may be evidence that the opioid crisis reaches underwater, too. Scientists have found traces of oxycodone in shellfish near Bremerton and in Seattle's Elliott Bay.

Flickr Photo/Michael Saechang (CC BY-SA-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9RtCyW

They're not the biggest political contributions in the state's history, but they're up there.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has written a million-dollar check for a gun-control initiative.

And Seattle venture capitalist Nick Hanauer says he's doing the same.

Fred Dillon, second from left, and his son, Codi Dillon, right, return the remains of a chinook salmon to the Puyallup River after a first salmon ceremony on Tuesday in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The Puyallup Tribe welcomed the first salmon of the year back to the Puyallup River in Tacoma on Tuesday.

Strangely, perhaps, that chinook's epic journey from mid-Pacific Ocean to a Puyallup fishing net begins with a sloshing tanker truck.


Kokanee spawning in Ebright Creek near Lake Sammamish
Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Roger Tabor

A little red fish that calls Lake Sammamish home is swimming desperately close to extinction. Officials are embarking on emergency measures to keep the fish known as kokanee from disappearing from the lake, and King County, forever.


Seattle Symphony musicians Eric Jacobs and Danielle Kuhlmann have some fun with Giovanny, the four-year-old son of Taylor Joffre, before a sharing session for the Lullaby Project at Mary’s Place in Seattle, Monday, May 7, 2018.
KUOW Photo/Dan DeLong

The Seattle Symphony will perform five original lullabies at a free Mother's Day concert this weekend. And each lullaby was composed with help from a parent staying at a local homeless shelter.

It's part of the symphony's effort to address homelessness in its own way. 

The Lower Duwamish River Superfund site in South Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Decades after they were banned, the toxic chemicals known as PCBs keep oozing into Seattle's Duwamish River. Environmental groups say one Boeing facility in Tukwila is sending polychlorinated biphenyls into the river at levels thousands of times beyond the legal limit.

S.G. Morse / Tacoma Public Library Archives

As the sun rose above Neah Bay one foggy morning three years ago, a boatful of anglers headed out to the Pacific Ocean to fish for halibut — something their Makah ancestors have done for thousands of years. 

Ethan Kent, 26, uses a cart to transport his belongings as well as the belongings of friends away from a Ravenna encampment where he had been living for roughly a month and a half, on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, on the Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Charlie Blackwood was running off three hours of sleep and seven cups of coffee when he packed up his belongings. He had been living with seven other people in a plot of woods in Ravenna, in northeast Seattle, when city crews arrived with trucks and shovels to clear it out.

The road that winds around Sea-Tac Airport.
Flickr Photo/Ping Li (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://bit.ly/2aPcgPp

The taxi business ain’t what it used to be.

That's partly why cabbies picketed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Tuesday, fighting back against a new ultimatum from one cab company. 

People pack city hall for a hearing on a proposed income tax
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the unfairest of them all?

Famed is thy progressiveness, Seattle, but when it comes to taxes, it’s you.


These cyclists did not forget (or 'forget') their bikes on the ferry.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

This may be the most Seattle of problems: people abandoning their bike share rentals on the ferry. 


Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1irsJLd

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has unveiled a dozen initiatives aimed at tackling the city's persistent carbon problem. Congestion pricing, also known as tolls, tops the list.

Protesters dressed as construction workers and a mini-longhouse they erected to block Puget Sound Energy's doors
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Protesters erected a miniature longhouse — just five feet tall and 12 feet long — in front of Puget Sound Energy's front doors and blocked the entrance to the company's headquarters in Bellevue for about three hours Monday morning.

The Russian Consulate in Seattle was shuttered on Monday.
KUOW photo/John Ryan

Except for the rock-star parking space reserved for consul-licensed vehicles, you’d never know the Russian consulate in Seattle is inside the One Union Square building, on the 25th floor.

Cranes at the Port of Seattle
KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

The ships, trains and trucks that haul cargo around Puget Sound are pumping out less of the soot, sulfur dioxide and other things you don’t want to breathe.

Air pollution from the ports of Seattle and Tacoma has dropped over the past decade, according to long-term monitoring released by the ports Thursday.

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

Atlantic salmon farming has been banned from Washington state waters. 

Gov. Jay Inslee signed the ban on non-native fish farms into law Thursday morning in Olympia. 

An Uber driver near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Fasil Teka of Renton said he drives for Uber and Lyft seven days a week, 12 hours a day, to get by.

He said driving passengers around used to be a good way to make a living in Seattle, but no longer.

A view from unit 204, Spyglass Hill apartments
Sound West Group

There’s a new way to get rental housing – by bidding against other people on an app. The person who offers to pay the most gets the spot.

Seattle City Council wants none of this. In a setback for tech entrepreneurs trying to disrupt the rental housing market, the Council issued a one-year moratorium on these kinds of rent auction apps.

Online auction apps like Rentberry and Biddwell serve as a sort eBay for rental housing — how much the rent will ultimately cost isn’t known until the deal closes.

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington addresses a gathering of park supporters and the news media at the South Interior Building in downtown Washington, D.C., on November 10, 2015.
Flickr Photo/National Park Service (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/AVXYRv

The Trump administration said Tuesday it would not push for oil and gas drilling off the Northwest coast.

Local protesters and politicians have been speaking out against the proposed drilling.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When it comes to climate change, a small number of us have disproportionate impact. That’s especially true when it comes to air travel, since most humans have never set foot on a plane. 


Amazon employee Andrea Neri stacks boxes in the back of a delivery truck on the ship dock at an Amazon fulfillment center on Friday, November 3, 2017, in Kent.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle's impact on the climate in recent years could be a lot worse than the city acknowledges.

A new report from C40, a global coalition of large cities including Seattle, says the cities' greenhouse gas emissions are 60 percent higher than previously reported.

Jeff Bezos looks up at a living wall during the grand opening of Amazon's spheres in Seattle in January
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has become the world’s first centibillionaire. By amassing net wealth estimated by Forbes at $127 billion, he has passed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the richest human in history.

That number is so large that it’s hard to make sense of. Just how rich is the world’s richest man?

Wikimedia

While the orcas of Puget Sound are sliding toward extinction, orcas farther north have been expanding their numbers. Their burgeoning hunger for big fish may be causing the killer whales’ main prey, chinook salmon, to shrink up and down the West Coast.

Garfield High School in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1GgN2Xe

Seattle's Garfield High School plans to discuss how to handle threats of violence with students and staff when they return from break Monday. Seattle Police arrested a Garfield student before the break for threatening a mass shooting, a threat that his teacher had ignored weeks earlier, according to police reports.

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