public safety

Emily Au, right, a junior at Rainier Beach High School, walks home from school with her cousin, Rebecca Chung. Au says the walk is dangerous, and that some students skip class or show up tardy because they don't want to walk in the dark.
KUOW photo/Ann Dornfeld

When Emily Au walks to school, she worries about getting jumped – again.

Last time, it was a woman at a bus stop asking for bus fare. The woman didn’t take no for an answer.

Oregon should create an anonymous statewide tip line and a database of school floor plans. Those are some of the recommendations in a report released Wednesday by a task force on school safety.

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, grown in culture and adhered to a cover slip.
Flickr Photo/NIAID (CC BY 2.0)/

The sleuthing is under way to figure out what has sickened at least 22 people in an E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants.

Health officials said Monday that they’re still unsure which food is responsible, but the number of cases is expected to rise beyond the 19 in Washington and three in Oregon reported so far. Seven people have been hospitalized in Washington, one in Oregon.

The state of Washington has issued workplace safety fines in a bridge demolition accident that killed a couple and their infant son. The fines announced Monday target four construction contractors.

Tsunami warning sirens wailed up and down the Washington coast Thursday. Students, businesses and medical workers drilled for an earthquake and tsunami as part of an annual event called "The Great Shakeout."

More than 1.5 million Northwesterners signed up to take part in this year's "Great ShakeOut" on Thursday morning. While "drop, cover and hold" is part of the annual earthquake safety drill everywhere, some coastal schools and offices followed up with tsunami evacuation practice.

The state of Oregon has updated its master plan for what to do in case of a major earthquake and tsunami.

Congressional Democrats from up and down the West Coast are asking the House Appropriations Committee to allocate more money for a new earthquake early warning system.

The warning system uses sensors to detect the initial, less destructive waves of an earthquake.

So it doesn't give much advance notice. Somewhere between a few seconds and a minute.

The site of the deadly Oso, Washington mudslide on March 22, 2014.
Flickr Photo/Washington State DNR (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to David Montgomery, University of Washington geology professor, about his geological recommendations for the state after last year's Oso landslide and how much progress has been made since the slide.

This week’s fiery oil train derailment in West Virginia has lawmakers thinking about oil-by-rail safety through the Northwest. There has been a dramatic increase in oil trains traveling through the region to reach West coast refineries.

traffic, transporation Variable speed signs on northbound Interstate 5 into Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Wendi Dunlap (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Mark Hallenbeck about the implications of reducing speed limits in Seattle. Hallenbeck directs the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington.

Up and down the West Coast there are beach towns where it would be challenging to escape a tsunami.

Jessica Cote picks up her daughter, Anna Cote, at the Spartan Recreation Center in Shoreline after students were moved to that location for reunification Wednesday morning, Jan.7.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Updated at 4:11 p.m., 1/7/2015:

Reports of an armed male on school grounds sent Shoreline schools into lockdown on Wednesday morning, said Sergeant DB Gates of the King County Sheriff's Office.

Lockdown was lifted at 10:15 a.m., and students were sent home. Police stayed at schools until all students were safely released.

An armed male was reportedly seen at Meridian Park Elementary at Meridian Avenue North and North 175th. Police released a limited description of the man on Twitter: "Only suspect is a male, camo pants, dark hoodie. Unknown race, unknown age. Had a firearm."

A food service employee spotted the man; staff at the elementary school called 911 at 7:50 a.m. Children had been at the school as early as 6:30 a.m. for child care.

The state government and the marijuana industry in Colorado are working to educate people about how to use pot safely. But in the high Rockies, one community is taking matters into its own hands.

The local sheriff in Aspen is leading an education effort that targets skiers and snowboarders flocking to the winter resort. And the sheriff isn't waiting until visitors hit the slopes — their education starts at the airport with pamphlets on marijuana.

The new federal budget sent to the president's desk over the weekend includes $5 million for earthquake early warning along the West Coast. With this funding, an alert system should begin to roll out regionally next year.