Kate Walters | KUOW News and Information

Kate Walters

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2015

Kate is a daily news reporter at KUOW. Originally from Australia, Kate studied journalism at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology before coming to work in public radio. Kate began her career as a reporter with WXXI Public Radio in Rochester, NY, where she worked as part of a Local Journalism Center (LJC) called the Innovation Trail. At KUOW, she started as a producer on The Record before joining the news desk.

KUOW photo/Kate Walters

Seattle’s South Park neighborhood sits on the bank of the polluted Duwamish river, flanked by industry and split in two by Highway 99.

This is a neighborhood uniquely steeped in Hispanic culture and occupied by people with a deep passion for community.

It’s also a neighborhood staring down the barrel of change.


Homeless RV
Flickr Photo/A. Kwanten (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Bv6MSo

This year’s point-in-time count of people living without homes in King County showed yet another increase of those living on the streets. 

But among people who are experiencing homelessness, the sharpest uptick — by a whopping 46 percent — came from people increasingly living in their cars, RVs, and vans. This year, vehicle residents made up more than half of the people counted who were living outside. 

Volunteers count the number of people experiencing homelessness during the annual King County Point-In-Time count on Friday, January 25, 2018, in Pioneer Square.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

On a single night in January, more than 12,000 people were counted as homeless throughout Seattle and King County.


The entrance to a homeless shelter on Third Avenue in Seattle.
KUOW File Photo/John Ryan

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan wants to significantly increase shelter capacity for people experiencing homelessness in the city over the next three months.

Using money from the sale of a city-owned property in South Lake Union, Durkan is proposing increasing the number of shelter spots available by 25 percent by the end of August.


Carmen Best, interim police chief of Seattle
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Community members and activists, some belonging to Mayor Jenny Durkan's own police chief selection committee, are calling for an overhaul of the city's process in choosing a new police chief. 


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

Seattle made some big shifts in its approach to homeless services last year, including signing new contracts that gave the city the ability to ding service providers that don’t get enough people into permanent housing.

For the first time in more than a decade, the city competitively bid roughly $34 million in service contracts, which included “pay for performance” measures.

Now the city has softened on this policy. Providers who don’t meet the standards in the first quarter of this year will get a pass. 

Seattle Police Officer and Navigation Team member Brad Devore offers services and shelter to campers
KUOW photo/Kate Walters

On a sunny May morning, the Alaskan Way Viaduct throws long shadows over a line of tents.

This cluster of tents is here illegally, one of about 400 unauthorized encampments in Seattle. It’s been cleared nine times this year, according to the city, including once this week.

Jenny Durkan
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has proposed a compromise tax on large businesses that would pay to ease the city’s affordable housing shortage and homelessness crisis.

Hector Casador works at the South Transfer Station in South Park
KUOW photo/Kate Walters

When you throw away a piece of trash, do you ever wonder where it goes and who deals with it? If you live in the city of Seattle, there’s a good chance that your garbage ends up at the city’s dump in South Park, right off Highway 99.

Courtesy of Joyas Mestizas and Nohemi Gardea

Drive south on Highway 99 and you’ll go straight through the middle of Seattle’s South Park neighborhood.

Light rail runs on the surface in Seattle's Rainier Valley.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Nonprofit developers plan to build more than 300 affordable apartments in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood. The project is slated to go on surplus land that Sound Transit is handing over for free.

The Battery Street Tunnel in downtown Seattle in 1954 during a carbon monoxide test. The tunnel will come down this year with the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Item 45797, Engineering Department Photographic Negatives (Record Series 2613-07), Seattle Municipal Archives.

What will happen to the Battery Street tunnel after the viaduct comes down?

This is a question KUOW has received multiple times as the new Highway 99 tunnel, built to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct, inches closer to completion.

Fifth grader Nina Perry at KUOW Public Radio in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Eleven-year-old Nina Parry noticed a man sitting outside her neighborhood QFC. She and her mom brought him food. But there were others.

“Ever since I can remember, I've been seeing homeless people asking for money or just sitting in the streets being cold,” she said.


Commuters ride the E Line bus southbound on Aurora Avenue North, around 5:30 a.m., on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The RapidRide E Line is Seattle's most crowded bus route, with more than 17,000 boardings each weekday. It connects Aurora Avenue North to downtown.

From left, Damaso Garcia, Jose Martinez and Justin Ducette laugh during a break on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Have you ever wondered what it's like to work at a cemetery? Here's your chance to find out. 


An American flag is shown between rows of headstones in the Veterans section on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle’s biggest cemetery begins with a tragic story.  

Rene Reynoso, left, and Cheyenne Reynoso, right, embrace on the bunk bed in their tiny home on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at the Licton Springs Tiny House Village on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The Licton Springs Tiny House Village on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle differs from the other city-authorized homeless encampments

Of the six sanctioned camps, it's the only low-barrier site, meaning residents don't have to be sober to live in one of the tiny homes — spaces 8 feet by 12 feet with windows, heat, electricity and a locking door. 

Ja'Shay Macklin, 10, left, plays with a football as her twin brother Ja'Sean watches their mother Stephanie Macklin-Jones work on a rubik's cube in their room at the Everspring Inn on Monday, March 26, 2018, on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The motels on Aurora Avenue are a throwback to a Seattle of days gone by, with their weather-beaten signs and green vacancy lights flashing.

Ricky Garcia and Lauren Davis are fighting to pass Ricky's Law in the Washington State Legislature that would allow involuntary committment for addicts.
Courtesy of Lauren Davis

If someone you love wants to hurt themselves, what can you do? If the underlying cause is mental illness, one option is to have them involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment. But if the underlying cause is addiction, that was not an option until the passage of Ricky's Law in 2016.

Ricky Garcia and Lauren Davis worked with state lawmakers to pass a bill that would let someone in Washington state involuntarily commit an addict who is found to be a danger to him or herself.  Bill Radke brings Davis back into the studio for an update on the implementation of the law, which took effect Monday. 

Tiny homes are shown on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at the Licton Springs Tiny House Village on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A homeless encampment sanctioned by the city of Seattle is hoping to have its permit extended for another year.

City officials say the tiny house village in the Licton Springs neighborhood is meeting its contractual goals.


A police officer pepper sprays a group of protesters on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, outside of a College Republicans rally at Red Square on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Five people were arrested at a College Republicans rally on the University of Washington campus Saturday that attracted a large crowd of protesters.


Buses are lined up inside the First Student bus lot on Lake City Way Northeast on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Update 2/10/2018 7:20 p.m.: First Student and the Teamsters Union 174 have reached a contract agreement and bus service will resume on Monday morning.

Original Post: The Seattle Public School bus drivers' strike may be coming to an end after more than a week. Yellow school bus contractor First Student entered into mediation with the union representing the drivers Thursday. Representatives from both parties now say they’ve reached a tentative agreement.

Washington State Troopers try to keep counter-protesters back from a protest by the conservative group Patriot Prayer, Thursday, June 15, 2017, at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the University of Washington from charging the UW College Republicans group a $17,000 security fee for a rally on campus this weekend.

The College Republicans have invited the head of the conservative group Patriot Prayer to speak in Red Square at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Several groups have said they plan to protest the event.  

Mike Browning, left, protests with other members of Teamsters Local 174 on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, outside of the First Student bus lot on Lake City Way Northeast in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

One week into the Seattle Public School bus driver strike, the two sides may be edging closer to a resolution.

Yellow school bus contractor First Student will enter into mediation with the union representing the drivers Thursday. This will be the first meeting between the two sides since the strike began. 

Washington State Troopers try to keep counter-protesters back from a protest by the conservative group Patriot Prayer, Thursday, June 15, 2017, at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The College Republicans group says the University of Washington is violating its constitutional rights by demanding a $17,000 security fee for a campus rally this Saturday.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday evening, the group said the UW is attempting to stifle free speech.

School bus drivers with Teamsters Local 174 strike on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, outside of the First Student bus lot on Lake City Way Northeast in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle public school bus drivers began a strike Thursday morning, and it's unclear how long the picketing will last. 

Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1OGMTuh

The #MeToo movement has reached inside the City of Seattle, with city employees speaking out about sexism, discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.

As first reported by Crosscut, current and former city employees have formed a group called the Seattle Silence Breakers. Their purpose is to provide support to city employees and spur change.

Thaddeus Teo counts the number of people experiencing homelessness during the annual King County Point-In-Time count on Friday, January 25, 2018, on the Marion Street Ferry Walkway in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Hundreds of volunteers scattered across King County early Friday morning to count the number of people experiencing homelessness during the annual King County Point-In-Time count.

The annual count gives a snapshot of the homelessness crisis and, despite King County and Seattle spending tens of millions of dollars on services in recent years, the tally has continued to rise.

Jenny Durkan
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The city of Seattle is launching an extensive review of its workplace harassment and discrimination policies.

Mayor Jenny Durkan has ordered the formation of a team to make recommendations on anti-harassment training, reporting mechanisms and personnel rules for city employees.

Seatte police
KUOW / Ashley Ahearn

The Seattle Police Department has reached a major milestone in their reform effort. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James Robart found the department in full and effective compliance with court-ordered reforms imposed more than five years ago.

The city of Seattle entered into a Consent Decree with the federal Justice Department in 2012 after findings that SPD had engaged in a pattern of using excessive force and possible biased policing.


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