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

Boeing worker Michael McNeil waits in line Tuesday afternoon to get into Everett's Xfinity Arena to hear Donald Trump speak.
KUOW PHOTO/DAVID HYDE

Fans of Donald Trump lined up by the thousands to hear him speak at a rally Tuesday evening in Everett.

They were met by protesters who said his policies would be bad for Boeing, minorities, women and the country in general.

Eric Jordan and Lisa Hooper are trying to make their camp Rainier Avenue S more tidy and clean. But they feel constrained by the state, which won't let them bring in garbage cans or porta-potties and regularly promises to evict them.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Government workers have been closing down a lot of homeless camps in Seattle in recent months.

Some of those campers have moved into places around the Rainier Valley.

And it’s causing some tensions there.


Lesley Holdcroft, elevator operator at Seattle's historic Smith Tower.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Smith Tower re-opens Thursday in Pioneer Square. It marks an important turnaround for the 1914 landmark Seattle building. 

It was once the tallest building West of the Mississippi. But it left that title behind long ago. You could say the Smith Tower hit rock bottom after the recession when plans to turn it into condos didn’t pan out and banks foreclosed on the famous wedding cake of a building.

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols took a tour of Smith Tower to learn some of its history.

Anna Ponder teaches a dance called stepping at the Steppers Unite Dance Studio - built in her garage. Ponder dances here with her student, Askia Heru.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Gentrification: It’s what happens when the people living in a low-income neighborhood get pushed out by new people with more money.

But some long-time residents manage to stay in gentrifying neighborhoods and thrive, like Anna Ponder, who teaches a dance style called stepping in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood.

Bama Chester and Patsy Tyler have long been fans of the Red Apple grocery store in the Central District, which has held up against the last decade of extreme gentrification.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Red Apple in the Central District doesn’t look like much when you drive by – maybe just another grocery store in an old strip mall.

But it’s at the heart of the Central Area, and the African-American community that once dominated this neighborhood.

A tent in the Jungle, a Seattle homeless encampment believed to have grown out of the original homeless hobo jungle during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW's growth and development reporter Joshua McNichols about the city's plan to close down the homeless encampment under Interstate 5 known as the Jungle and what will happen to the people that live there. 

The tent city where Jungle residents are being encouraged to move.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle is taking new action to move homeless people out of the Jungle, a greenbelt under Interstate 5 near downtown.

Once people are out, the state plans to clear out garbage and improve access roads.

23-year-old Alisha Agard reacts as the first ballot results showing up on her phone reveal the housing levy's enormous lead.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Housing Levy in Seattle passed by a wide margin last night. It’ll cost the average home owner $10 a month for seven years. That’s twice the cost of the last levy, which expires this year.


Sandra Anderson enjoys a celebratory meal at one of her favorite restaurants with Kevin Krause and Ravenna Candy from the nonprofit, Navos. Anderson is graduating from Navos' housing program – her apartment will be signed over to her name.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Rob Gilroy had a wife, kids and a good job as a garbage collector. Then a divorce kicked his butt. 

“I was grieving,” Gilroy said. “Unfortunately, I turned to drugs. And the bottom line when it comes to drugs is you’re going to end up with nothing.”


Moe Toure runs Toure Apparel in a strip mall on one of Vulcan Real Estate's 23rd Avenue properties.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

For years, the Central District didn’t get much investment. But recently, the city poured money into infrastructure improvements on 23rd Avenue. Then Vulcan bought a city block of real estate along the route. 

The real estate giant is planning 40,000 square feet of retail space and 570 apartments. They’re also planning a second development across the street.


El Centro de la Raza's Estela Ortega is for the levy, while Wallingford homeowner Glenn Singer is against it.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle’s affordable housing levy has paid for thousands of affordable apartments over the years. But the current levy expires at the end of this year. Now voters must decide whether to approve a new housing levy that’s twice the size of the old one.

Craig Dupler, retired Boeing engineer
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

100 years ago Friday, Bill Boeing incorporated his airplane company. It would later be known as the Boeing Airplane Company and Washington's largest private employer. KUOW made a visit to the place where it all started.


Teri Rogers Kemp once stood on a corner with a sign and yelled at cars. Over time, she has found more effective strategies.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Local activists want to make it easier to prosecute police who use deadly force. They’re gathering signatures for an initiative that would eliminate a common defense used by police: That they acted “without malice.”

We bring you a profile of one of the people organizing support for the initiative.


Nika Nellum (right) graduated Wednesday from the rigorous King County Juvenile Drug Court program. The program has drawn national attention. But Nellum gave her mother most of the credit.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s graduation week at the King County Juvenile Drug Court. Four teenagers made it through a tough program that’s drawn attention from around the nation. Instead of incarceration, they got help.


Sharon Jones built a housing project out of noodles
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle is working on a strategic response to homelessness. But the endless meetings and the conversations at the City Council – they can make solutions seem so far away.

But there are people closer to the street who have ideas of their own about what would work.


Aubrey and Irene Beausoleil aren't afraid of transit oriented development. They just wish it wouldn't bury their home and community.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Irene Beausoleil and her husband recently moved to Pinehurst, just north of Northgate. She went to her very first community meeting just this week.

Beausoleil: “It’s the first time I found a community where I wanted to participate. Because I knew that I would be here for awhile. And it was at this meeting that I learned that there’s a very good chance that my house will be knocked down.”

 


Sound Transit's light rail shot from the SeaTac Airport Station.
Flickr Photo/Michael @NW Lens (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9P9hnJ

It's official: Voters throughout the region will decide on a giant transportation plan on November's ballot.

The Sound Transit board unanimously approved the $54 billion ST-3 plan on Thursday.

Sound Transit bus.
Flickr Photo/wings777 (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/63X142

Kim Malcolm talks with growth and development reporter Joshua McNichols about Sound Transit's final proposal for ST3. The $50 billion transportation package will be decided on by voters this fall.

At the South Lake Union Discovery Center, a Vulcan guide apologized that the model was so out of date. It hadn't been updated in a couple years.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle took in over 50,000 new people in the last five years. Suzanne Offen is one of them.

Before moving here, she had family and a comfortable job in Brooklyn, New York.


Ian Allen runs security at Foundation night club.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

This weekend is Pride Weekend. And with the Orlando massacre on people’s minds, Seattle night clubs are getting special training in how to avoid a mass shooting.

Kristy Nguyen is a hairdresser in Belltown. She rents an apartment set aside for low-income earners. It's how she can stay in the city.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The city wants residential developers to help build affordable housing. It’s going to ask them to set aside some of their apartments for low income earners.

It’s part of the larger effort to build 20,000 affordable apartments. 

Sally Bagshaw's condo burdened the city councilmember when she wanted to work on legislation affecting waterfront property values. New rules would let her and others work on laws for their districts, despite owning property there.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Seattle City Council has paused its plans to loosen its ethics laws. Under current law, council members can’t vote on legislation that could benefit them financially. A proposed new law would loosen that restriction, as long as they were open about conflicts of interest. 


Ken Brooks says the Safe Zone, which operates on a shoestring compared to more the famously expensive Safe Lot in Ballard, has made his life a lot easier.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

A safe place for homeless people to park their Recreational Vehicles was supposed to shut down Friday. It’s a simple gravel lot, near the city pet shelter in the Interbay neighborhood. 

But it turns out, Friday wasn’t a hard deadline. The city wants to have another safe parking zone ready for them to move to in SODO.

The Seattle City Council has passed a resolution refining the mayor’s plan to sweep the Jungle in the wake of criticism. The council’s new resolution is designed to provide jungle residents with some protection from eviction. It follows a week where the council and mayor sometimes seemed at odds over the best approach.

Chris Fojtik and Mahealani Texeira outside Union Gospel Mission. They choose to sleep outside, rather than being separated. Most shelters don't let couples stay together at night.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She had returned to the Jungle to pick up her suitcase.

Then the shooters arrived. She and two others survived, but two people were killed.

Mt. Rainier peeks between two houses in Orting, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

When geologist Carolyn Driedger talks about Mount Rainier, she feels like she’s trash-talking.


The Union Gospel Mission works with Operation Nightwatch to fill up its spare beds at the end of the night.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The doors at Operation Nightwatch open at 9 p.m. Homeless men and women – but mostly men – stream in and grab a hot meal.

Then they sit around. They look anxious. They’re waiting for beds.


Carmen and Robert Patterson have lived in the Jungle, a homeless encampment in Seattle, on and off since 2011. They and several others who live in the Jungle shared photos, stories and text messages with us.
Courtesy of Robert Patterson

Robert Patterson lives in the Jungle, a homeless encampment. This is a transcript from his audio diary: 

Sunday is … Carmen and I try to make this our day that we don’t have to go anywhere. It’s a lazy day.


Jon Meer of Light Under The Bridge is the outsider who comes to the Jungle most often.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Every day, social workers reach out to homeless people on the streets of Seattle. But there’s one place social workers seldom go: the Jungle.

That’s the notorious homeless encampment under Interstate 5 where there have been assaults, rapes and stabbings. Many outreach workers consider it too dangerous. But a few do enter the Jungle. 

Jacobo Miguel Pinon Jr. plays the harmonica at his space in the Jungle, a homeless encampment that houses more than 400 people by some estimates.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW reporter Joshua McNichols about Seattle's homeless encampment known as the Jungle. They discuss what it's like in the Jungle and why we react to it the way we do. 

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