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

Foss Maritime tugs pull the Polar Pioneer past downtown Seattle on the way to Terminal 5 on Thursday, May 14, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Environmental activists in kayaks paddled into the middle of Seattle's Elliott Bay  on Thursday afternoon to meet -- or, as they say, "un-welcome" -- a huge Shell oil rig.

The arrival of the Polar Pioneer could raise the stakes in the battle over Shell's oil exploration plans in the remote Arctic Ocean.  

Kayakers protesting the arrival of Shell's Polar Pioneer rig in Port Angeles in April
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Seattle Port Commission has voted to delay the arrival of Arctic drill rigs on the Seattle waterfront, but Shell Oil’s contractor is vowing to bring them here anyway.

The lion's mane jelly taken by KUOW reporter and diver Ann Dornfeld in 2010.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Little fish are disappearing from much of Puget Sound, according to a new study.

These are the fish that orcas and salmon depend on, and they’re being replaced by ballooning populations of jellyfish, which most fish and seabirds don't eat.

Chelsea Lapointe and her daughter Santa Monica at Bianca's Place shelter in Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

It’s Monday, a little after 5 p.m., and Chelsea Lapointe and her 7-week-old baby walk into Bianca's Place shelter in Seattle's booming South Lake Union neighborhood.

It’s before dinner, and a few hours before staff will haul mattresses onto the floor to turn the common area from dining room into rough dormitory. Lapointe has just graduated from a six-month drug rehab program in Shoreline.

KUOW / John Ryan photo

Hundreds of people crowded into Seattle City Hall Thursday night to air their concerns about the city's rising cost of housing.

Protesters rally as part of the National Day of Action for Higher Wages on Capitol Hill, Seattle, on April 15, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Todd Mundt

Unions and low-wage workers held rallies around the state Wednesday to push for higher wages.

Twenty-one protesters, including seven Seattle University faculty members, were arrested after occupying an intersection near the university, which has blocked adjunct faculty members' efforts to unionize.

Homeless shelters in Seattle, one of the nation's wealthiest cities, turn people away each night. Wait lists for low-income housing are years-long. Cars and tents serving as makeshift homes can be spotted all over Seattle and the rest of King County.

Across the U.S., more than a million Americans wound up in homeless shelters in 2013, according to the latest numbers from the Obama administration. Homelessness remains widespread, but in most places, it's been decreasing in recent years.

Troy Kelley, then a Washington state Representative (D-Tacoma), testifying in a deposition in 2010.
Riddell Williams

Before Troy Kelley became the state official most responsible for sniffing out government fraud and waste, he was a state representative.

And like most legislators in Olympia, he had other work.

Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace

After nearly two hours of public testimony Tuesday, Seattle port commissioners upheld their decision to let Arctic oil-drilling rigs dock at the Port of Seattle.

They did vote 5-0 to make it harder for Shell Oil to use the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 beyond the two-year term of the lease the port approved in January.

Robert Robinson listens as Seattle Police Detective D. "Cookie" Bouldin reads a poem at a memorial for his son, Robert Jr.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The site of Sunday's shooting in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood has turned into a shrine and gathering place for people remembering Robert Robinson, Jr. KUOW's John Ryan reports.

Student activists Angela Feng, Sarra Tekola and Alex Lenferna of Divest UW appear before the UW Board of Regents on March 12, 2015 to urge the university to get rid of its coal investments.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Student activists at the University of Washington urged the Board of Regents on Thursday to dump the university's investments in coal.

Jonathan Murrell said his life spiraled out of control after a car accident in 2012.  He hasn't had housing in years.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Ten years ago this month, King County made a bold promise to end homelessness in 10 years. The ranks of the homeless have declined in Washington state and nationally during that time. But in the Seattle area, the number of people sleeping on the streets and in shelters has only gone up.

Homeless families outside a shelter in downtown Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

If you have an emergency, you call 911.

If you need emergency shelter or housing, you can call 211 – but be prepared to wait six months or more.

In the Seattle area, as throughout the United States, there aren’t enough beds.

Alex Williams, an operator for 211, King County's information line for emergency food or shelter.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

A phone rings in a room full of busy operators at Seattle's Crisis Clinic. Alex Williams answers this one. 

“Good morning, thank you for calling King County 211. My name is Alex. How can I help you today?"

King County 211 is the line members of the public can call for emergency shelter or social services.

A clipboard used for King County's annual One Night Count.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

When a homeless person needs help, they are often asked for a lot of personal information.

For victims of domestic violence, that information could potentially help an abuser track them down. That’s why homeless people in Washington state are given the choice to keep personal information from a big database that service providers keep and share on the people they help.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

A labor dispute with dock workers has led to slowdowns and backups at West Coast ports. One part of the Port of Seattle's cargo business is booming. KUOW's John Ryan reports.

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

About 200 workers at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington, are on strike. They've had a 24-hour picket line at the plant's main gate for more than a week.

Crowds of homeless people often gather on the sidewalks of downtown Seattle near social-service providers.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The ranks of the homeless continue to swell in King County. An overnight count found 3,772 people living on the streets — a 21 percent increase since last January.

Hundreds of volunteers fanned out across the county in the wee hours of Friday morning to take count of the region's rising homeless population.

KUOW photo/John Ryan

Seattle City Council has put new restrictions on who gets to work on the city’s construction projects. Under legislation passed Tuesday, 20 percent of workers on public works projects will need to live in disadvantaged ZIP codes in King County. That percentage has to double over the next decade. KUOW’s John Ryan reports.

A Seattle homeless camp's eviction notice, taken in January 2015.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Even as Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan on Wednesday to establish new tent cities for Seattle's growing homeless population, homeless people were being evicted from their camps on public property in the city.  

Such evictions occur almost daily in a city where the demand for shelter outstrips the supply, especially for those who need it most.

U.S. Coast Guard/Travis Marsh

The Seattle Port Commission decided on Tuesday to let Shell Oil's Arctic drilling fleet use West Seattle as its home port.

Shell's drill rigs and barges would overwinter at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 in West Seattle while the terminal is being renovated.

KUOW/John Ryan photo

Sixty-four people died on the job in Washington state in 2014, more than in any of the past three years, according to preliminary figures from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. The fatal incidents varied widely, from an ironworker falling off a roof on Jan. 6 to a logging truck driver being run over by his own truck on Dec. 30.

An oil tanker and a container ship about to cross paths near Seattle.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Oil tankers bring about 15 million gallons of oil every day into Washington state. Starting Jan. 1, those ships are required to have double hulls.

The oil-spill prevention measure has been in the works for decades, ever since Capt. Joseph Hazelwood ran the Exxon Valdez onto Alaska's Bligh Reef in 1989. Eleven million gallons of oil spilled into Prince William Sound, killing thousands of seabirds and sea otters, devastating the region's fisheries and unleashing action in Washington, D.C.

KUOW/John Ryan photo

Eddy Mahon says the Aloha Inn saved his life.

Each day, thousands of people speed by the run-down old motel on Highway 99 just south of Seattle's Aurora Bridge. It's no longer a motel. Now it's a place where homeless people can stay for up to two years and get help while they try to get back on their feet; there's a long waiting list to get in. Mahon manages the Aloha.

He told his story to KUOW's John Ryan.

A condemned house on the edge of the Ledgewood Beach landslide on Whidbey Island.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

new report from the SR 530 Landslide Commission makes 17 recommendations for improving public safety in a state that is dotted with landslide-prone slopes. Recommendations range from mapping Washington state's most dangerous ground in detail to improving emergency response.

The independent commission set up in response to the deadly March 22 Oso landslide says more money is needed to prepare for slides statewide.

The hole built to rescue Bertha, the deep boring machine.
WSDOT webcam

  Much of Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood has sunk an inch or more, according to a map released by state transportation officials on Thursday.

The sinking is greatest next to a 120-foot-deep pit being dug to rescue the broken-down tunnel machine known as Bertha. There, the ground has sunk 1.4 inches.

Areas more than a quarter mile away from the pit have sunk by half an inch or more.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

Transportation officials say a stretch of the Alaskan Way Viaduct settled an inch last month.

They told state legislators Friday that there is no risk to public safety from the newly discovered subsidence of the elevated highway. KUOW's John Ryan reports.

TRANSCRIPT

The viaduct sank an inch during a two-week span in November, right next to a giant shaft that's being dug near King Street and Yesler Way.

That access shaft is needed to dig up and repair the tunneling machine known as Bertha.

Tent City 3 resident and executive committee member Jeff Roderick
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Seattle Pacific University will become a home for the homeless this winter. Starting next week, the school is set to host the camp known as Tent City 3. KUOW's John Ryan reports.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

A state commission on landslides is urging nearly two dozen improvements in the way Washington state prepares for and responds to landslides.

Statewide mapping of landslide hazards, better funding and coordination for emergency responders, and "innovative" land-use regulations to improve public safety top the commission's preliminary list.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Rents are rising sharply in Seattle, and the city has launched another effort to tackle the shortage of affordable housing.

At an Ethiopian community center in the Rainier Valley, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's new affordable housing committee tried Wednesday night to take the pulse of a community hit hard by housing costs.

The 28-member committee's first open house began slowly as a consultant showed the multicultural audience how to use handheld electronic clickers to take part in an instant survey.

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