John Ryan

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2009

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. He says he's happy to have one of the few investigative reporting jobs in public radio and to get to explore new ways of telling investigative stories at KUOW.org.

John welcomes story ideas and feedback from listeners. Email him at jryan@kuow.org or call him at 206-543-0637. (Pro Tip: Do not "reach out to" him -- he hates that vague cliche!)

In addition to the recent stories below, John's KUOW stories from September 2012 and before are archived here.

Ways to Connect

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (holding giant scissors) and other officials celebrate the opening of a light-rail station on Capitol Hill.
Flickr Photo/Sound Transit

The launch party for the two light rail stations was, in hindsight, “too much.”

The consultants, tote bags, security and ads – it added up to $858,000 of taxpayer money.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at Capitol Hill’s light rail station.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle-based Sound Transit has made its plan to expand regional transit slightly faster and slightly more expensive.


Sound Transit

Everett could get light rail in 20 years instead of 25 under a new plan discussed by the Sound Transit board Thursday afternoon.

Light rail would reach Ballard in 19 years instead of 22.


An air tanker drops red fire retardant on a wildfire near Twisp, Wash., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015.
FLICKR PHOTO/BEN BROOKS (CC BY-SA 2.0) HTTP://BIT.LY/1KSV09N

State officials are investigating the causes of two forest fires northeast of Seattle.

With no lightning reported in the Oso or Gold Bar areas where the fires started, officials suspect they were caused by humans, either accidentally or intentionally.

Ted Cruz raised the most money of any Republican presiddential candidate in Washington state.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Candidates who raise the most money tend to win elections.

But not always.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz was scheduled to speak at a rally in Spokane and a fundraiser in Redmond on Wednesday and at a rally in Bothell on Thursday.

But he dropped out of the presidential race Tuesday night after Donald Trump's big win in Indiana.

Thornton Place Apartments in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood has 56 apartments (out of 278) set aside for low wage earners. In exchange for keeping rents for those units low for 12 years, the developer got a tax break.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

This summer, Seattle voters will be asked to make property in the city a little less affordable to make housing for the poorest Seattleites more affordable.

On Monday, Seattle City Council unanimously approved putting a housing levy on the Aug. 2 primary ballot.


KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Transit riders around the region have told Sound Transit that the agency's proposal to build 58 miles of light rail over the next 25 years is too slow.

It's been a clear theme in the more than 30,000 comments the agency has received as it gears up for the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure this fall.

UW-Tacoma biologist Aimee Kinney looks for small invertebrates that salmon feed on along a less-degraded patch of heavily walled Alki Beach in West Seattle.
kUOW Photo/John Ryan

In Seattle's King County, property owners have walled off most of the shoreline with concrete bulkheads and other heavy infrastructure.

Along Hood Canal and other rural parts of the sound, the owners of coveted waterfront homes keep building more walls to keep their properties from eroding.

KPLU fans at a community meeting and fundraiser in Olympia.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Public radio station KPLU has raised more than half the $7.25 million it says it needs to fend off a buyout by KUOW and the University of Washington.

studio
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Seattle's two NPR news stations will soon have competing music services as well.

News and information station KUOW 94.9 is launching an online and HD Radio service called Planet Jazz that will play jazz and blues around the clock.

Taylor Shellfish crews haul up oysters from Samish Bay, Washington. The Northwest's shellfish industry is one of the first to feel the impacts of ocean acidification.
Katie Campbell, KCTS9/EarthFix

A panel of ocean scientists from Washington, Oregon and California said Monday that local action on the West Coast — one of the regions of the world hardest hit by ocean acidification — could soften the blow of this rapidly worsening global problem.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

An oil refinery on Puget Sound wants to ship a raw material for plastic overseas, and some environmental groups say that's a bad idea. 

The Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington, is proposing a $400 million expansion.

The upgraded refinery could make cleaner, low-sulfur gasoline and ship up to five tankers a month of the chemical known as xylene to Asia.

Neighbors and protesters greet Hillary Clinton's motorcade as the candidate arrives at a private fundraiser in Medina, Washington.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

If campaign contributions are any indicator, Washington state is "feeling the Bern."

People here have given Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders 30 percent more money than they have to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton through the end of February. Sanders' $2.6 million Washington war chest is more than all Republican candidates combined have received from the state.

Some of Washington state's busiest bridges have a surprising design feature deep inside their massive structures.

Thirty-four water systems in Washington state were found to have unacceptable levels of lead. Most of those systems are now in compliance, although four of them are still working toward lower lead levels.
Flickr Photo/Christina Spicuzza (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Flint, Michigan, isn't the only place with lead in its drinking water: 34 water systems in Washington state have tested above acceptable levels of the toxic metal, according to a new investigation from USA Today.

The list includes water systems at five schools: Maple Valley Elementary, Griffin School near Olympia, Shelton Valley Christian School, Skamania Elementary and Washington State Patrol Academy.

Pages