Joshua McNichols | KUOW News and Information

Joshua McNichols

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2007

Joshua has been the "growing pains" reporter since 2015, documenting the region's growth and change. 

Joshua “took the long way” to radio, working in architecture firms for over a decade before pursuing his passion for public radio in 2007.

By "long way," he means he's also been a writer, bicycle courier, commercial fisherman, bed-and-breakfast cook, carpenter, landscaper and stained glass salesman. He’s detailed animal enclosures to prevent jaguars from escaping the Miami Zoo. Once, while managing a construction site in Athens, Greece, he was given a noogie by an Albanian civil war refugee in his employ. “You do not tell those guys how to place stucco,” he said.

All of which has no doubt made him the story-teller he is today.  

Ways to Connect

FILE: Starbucks location
Flickr Photo/Yukiko Matsuoka (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/emrGV5

Starbucks will close 8,000 stores late next month so employees can attend an afternoon-long training about racial bias. That follows an incident in Philadelphia where employees called police on two African American men who were waiting for a friend but hadn’t purchased anything.

So, will one afternoon of training work? We asked an expert.

Nichole Fabre drives the RapidRide E Line bus up and down Aurora. On a recent weekday morning, she started driving around 3:55 a.m., beginning in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The most congested bus route in King County runs down Aurora. It’s called the RapidRide E Line. The crowding on those buses brings all kinds of people together.


Owner of Little Amazon, Linh Nguyen, holds iguanas on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Originally, the Nguyens were fish breeders, supplying the region’s pet stores.

Aurora Avenue North was good for that: Highways are where you want to be if you distribute stuff. 


Yurie Crockett sucks up used fry oil for recycling into biodiesel. His employer will pick up congestion tolling on his work vehicle (and he commutes by bus), but believes it will hurt people struggling to stay in the city.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan proposed a new way to reduce congestion and pay for transit this week by tolling cars coming into the city. It’s called “congestion pricing.”

But the idea of increasing costs in this increasingly expensive city raises eyebrows. Maybe try better marketing, says one expert.


See that dumpster over there? A narrow space behind it is just one of the places David Wickingstad has lived along Aurora.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

David Wickingstad is homeless on Aurora. He gives us a personal walking tour of the spaces that help him survive along this neglected highway.


A worker in Boise puts together an apartment bound for Seattle.
Guerdon Modular Design

The apartment complex at Aurora and North 109th Street in Seattle was built on the cheap.

Cyanna DiRaimo runs for miles and miles. Sometimes, she runs along Aurora for a block or two (in order to cross), and imagines Aurora as an urban village.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

City officials have designated some parts of the aging Aurora Avenue as “urban villages” (dense, walkable neighborhoods near transit). But Aurora has a ways to go before it resembles a village. 


A mural commissioned by the Aurora Merchants Association is shown on Monday, March 26, 2018, near the intersection of Aurora Avenue North and N.105th St., in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Aurora Avenue North is a place where you can buy a car, sell a car or get fancy rims for your tires. If your vehicle has ever been towed in north Seattle, you may have written a painfully large check to Lincoln Towing so they’d release it. For decades, Aurora’s business community has been dominated by car-oriented businesses.

That time is coming to an end. And those businesses are fighting to maintain what influence they have left.


Angel Hackman leads Ruby Oswell (center left) and her friends across Aurora's new crosswalk at 92nd on their way to school.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Before there was I-5, there was Highway 99. 


Construction continues on a new apartment complex on Monday, March 12, 2018, at the intersection of Aurora Avenue North and 109th St., in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Commuters — in 43,000 cars every weekday — see Aurora Avenue as a river. Pedestrians trying to cross from one side to the other see it as a wall. 

In coming weeks, KUOW's Region of Boom team will explore how growth is changing State Route 99 from Shoreline to Tukwila.


Traffic is shown on Aurora Avenue North on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

What does Aurora mean to you? Al Jawann Johnson answered that question with a spontaneous poem:

"Aurora is to me the beast in the night. It is the beauty that I see in the streetlights. It is the wayward women walking to and fro. It is the depressed joy on the homeless as they go. It is the broad city lights and cars that drive by so fast. It is the backstreets where quiet streets and houses put their heads on the pillow at last."

KUOW reporters Joshua McNichols and Carolyn Adolph host 'That's Debatable: Amazon is Good for Seattle' on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

We recently hosted a debate to answer a simple question: Is Amazon good for Seattle?

And the answer is: We don’t really know for certain. But the debate did have a clear winner.


A community meeting on Mandatory Housing Affordability at Northgate on March 12, 2018
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Residents of north Seattle want affordable housing, but are skeptical of the city’s plan to get that housing built by encouraging more development. That was the dominant message heard at Monday night’s public hearing in Northgate.

From left, Anthony Banks, Zack Larson, Chris Chase, Devin Ottesen and James Kennemer laugh while working on a job site on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, on 38th Ave East in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The Seattle area needs more housing.

There’s not enough construction workers to build all the houses we need.

Meanwhile, ex-prisoners have a hard time finding work and a place to live.

One woman and her company found a way to tackle all these problems at the same time.


The Benson Trolleys, in storage
The Friends of the Benson Trolleys

Construction crews are busy relocating utilities for the new trolley line through downtown Seattle. The new line will integrate the shorter lines at either end of downtown into a larger system.

The trolley cars running on that line will have all the latest technology. But some civic leaders want to sprinkle some old, historic trolleys among the new trolleys.

Bike share bikes in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle’s in the middle of a big bike share experiment, with bikes everywhere that you can rent for only a dollar.

It’s so cheap. So how do these companies make money?


Kyle Rowe wants bike sharing companies and cities to be true partners.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

This is a story about dockless bike sharing, but it begins with a story about Uber. Uber's complicated history with cities has made city officials more willing to push back.


Customers shop at Amazon Go on Monday, January 22, 2018, on 7th Ave., in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Amazon is the place where you buy stuff and then it magically appears at your front door. Or, more recently, it's the place where you go to buy a sandwich in a store and walk out without having to interact with a cashier.

There's an invisible side of all this: the cloud.


A dartboard we fixed up at Earl's On The Ave in Seattle's University District
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Amazon has released its list of 20 finalists for the company's next headquarters.

Many of the chosen don't come as big surprises: Chicago, Boston, New York, etc. But then there were cities like Miami and Indianapolis that made us ask, what are you doing on this map?

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

Traffic engineers have lots of projects planned for downtown Seattle in 2018. In the short run, they could cause more congestion. But they say it'll be worth it in 2019, when even bigger projects are planned.

Sugary drinks like this will be taxed 1.75 pennies per ounce in Seattle beginning January 1, 2018.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/pohVni

Seattle’s new soda tax hits stores on January 1.  Officials hope the tax - 1.75 pennies for every ounce of sugary drinks purchased - will help decrease obesity without hurting businesses. Scientists in Seattle will be monitoring the results.

Gabrielitto Rodriguez Barcelotta, at his camping spot in Belltown, does not mind the bike racks that now discourage camping here and separate him from traffic. But bike advocates do mind the city's use of bike racks for this purpose.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle’s department of transportation is taking some flak for using bike racks to discourage tent camping on Seattle sidewalks.

Robotic drive units transfer items at an Amazon fulfillment center on Friday, November 3, 2017, in Kent.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

This is a crazy time of year for online retail behemoth Amazon – especially for their robots.

Robots have already taken over a lot of the work in Kent's Amazon warehouse, like finding and retrieving items. And they’re continually learning how to do things that humans do.

Amazon employee and ship dock manager Zach Mudd, center, leads a group chant as employees return from their lunch breaks at an Amazon fulfillment center on Friday, November 3, 2017, in Kent.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It’s the last few days before Christmas and Amazon warehouses are buzzing with human activity — and with robots. The robots are getting more intelligent, and experts say robots will soon take more of those jobs. There are things humans can do to get ready for that future. Amazon intends to help them prepare.


Journalist and author Ruchika Tulshyan says Amazon is not immune to the tech industry's diversity problems.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It’s lunch time in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Employees pour out of Amazon’s headquarters. Ruchika Tulshyan sits on a bench, watching who comes and goes. 


Joseph Jones, an Amazon employee on the marketing team for Amazon channels, takes pictures with his mother, Cathy Jones, right, and his grandmother, Hattie Perry, left, during Amazon's bring your parents to work day on Friday, September 15, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

We know, you want the jobs. 

That's why you're offering billions of dollars and other sweet kickbacks to get Amazon to move to your town. 


Is Amazon your guilty pleasure?

Nov 24, 2017
Boxed items are shown on conveyer belts leading to docks where they will be loaded onto trucks at an Amazon fulfillment center on Friday, November 3, 2017, in Kent.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

We're a conflicted bunch.

On one hand, we love to hate Amazon in Seattle because the city grew too fast and it's made problems for a lot of people. But a lot of us are also huge Amazon shoppers. 

Think about that: Amazon is so good at what it does that even people who say they shouldn't, use it.


Traffic is seen on I-5 from 45th St., on Friday, October 27, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A couple of years ago, a semitruck carrying a load of fish overturned on the Alaskan Way Viaduct during rush hour on a Tuesday.

We get it: This is possibly the most stereotypical Seattle problem ever.


Deborah Bartlett, shown here in her kitchen with Ponch Hartley, cooks meals in her South Lake Union home so she's not tempted to patronize her neighborhod's pricey restaurants.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

What's it like to live a middle class lifestyle in Amazon's neighborhood?

Deborah Bartlett knows. She's a teacher. And like half the people in Seattle, she earned less than $50,000 last year. She works part time at a school near Amazon’s headquarters.


Amazon employees walk in front of a map highlighting 238 cities that submitted bids for Amazon's second headquarters in the lobby of the Day 1 building on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

So.

It’s been a little tense in Seattle since Amazon started shopping around for a new city to love.


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