Sara Lerner

Reporter

In her role as reporter and afternoon news anchor, Sara responds to events as they unfold: from an approaching tsunami to unbearable gridlock during the Alaskan Way viaduct closure. Sara's reporting has covered a range of subjects including the Dalai Lama's Seattle visit, local controversies about racy coffee shops, and the ups and downs of real estate in the Puget Sound region.

In 2009, Sara was awarded a KUOW Program Venture Fund grant which supported her four–part documentary on human trafficking in Washington state. In 2008, her piece, "No More Lemon Bars For Voters," brought Sara a national award from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. Sara continues to produce stories for NPR and radio shows like Studio 360 and Voice Of America. She joined the station in 2005.

Prior to her radio career, Sara researched cacao in the Costa Rican rainforest, worked for a Palestinian/Israeli co–existence group in Tel Aviv and visited nearly every country in Latin America. Her interest in travel stems from the same place as her passion for reporting: an intense curiosity about the world around us and the people who inhabit it. She says her motivation as a journalist is to continue asking questions and telling stories, truthfully.

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Transportation Crisis
9:37 am
Fri April 18, 2014

No Access To Route 530 Is Next ‘Emergency’ For Darrington Residents

A State Patrol post blocks cars from traveling west on state Route 530 out of Darrington, Wash.
KUOW Photo/Sara Lerner

A month after the devastating mudslide near Oso, Wash., a mile of state Route 530 still sits under landslide debris.

As the people from this tiny community and the neighboring towns try to move on, they’re battling a major transportation issue with their daily commute to work.  Many of them are adding hours to their drive time to go around the mudslide.

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Oso Mudslide
3:04 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Survivor Describes Harrowing Landslide Moment

Washington mudslide survivor Amanda Skorjanc, left, talks to the media with her partner Ty Suddarth at Harborview Medical Center, April 9, 2014, in Seattle. On March 22, Skorjanic said she was trapped in a pocket formed by her broken couch and pieces of her roof with her infant son.
Credit AP Photo/The Herald, Dan Bates, Pool

Oso landslide survivor Amanda Skorjanc spoke from her hospital bed at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Wednesday. She and her 5-month-old baby Duke Suddarth are among the few who survived the landslide.

As Skorjanc’s partner Ty Suddarth sits next to her, she describes that moment when the landslide hit.

It carried her and her son 600 feet from where their home once stood.

Transcript: Amanda Skorjanc Recalls March 22 Oso Mudslide 

Ty had just given us a big family hug and he was going into Darrington to the hardware store.

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Rescue And Recovery
11:52 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Search Crews Struggle To Define Success In Mudslide Debris

Lieutenant Richard Burke of the Bellevue Fire Department has been out searching in the mudslide debris near Oso, Wash.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

As of Wednesday morning, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s office has confirmed that 29 people have died in the Oso landslide. Hopes of finding survivors are dwindling.

That’s taking a toll on the families and the search crews, some who have been out there since the very beginning, doing intense physical and emotional work. Rescue operations managers are very conscious about giving those crews a break, letting them rotate in and out so they can rest and recharge.

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Oso Devastation
6:52 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Gov. Inslee: 'We're Providing Every Opportunity To Find That Miracle'

A young boy attends a Sunday church service at the First Baptist Church in Darrington, Wash., a week after the devastating Oso mudslide.
Credit KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

As the local community held Sunday church services a week after the devastating Oso mudslide, searchers continued their work in the sodden destruction zone.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner confirmed on Sunday evening that 21 people have died in the mudslide. Of these, only 15 have been officially identified.

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Oso Tragedy
8:38 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Landslide Death Toll Rises, Number Of Missing Drops

Dog rescued from mudslide debris on March 25, 2014.
Flickr Photo/Snohomish County

The death toll has risen to 18 following the devastating landslide near Oso, Washington. One bright spot: The number of people missing has fallen dramatically. It's now down to 30. 

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Human Trafficking
9:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Study: Spending On Sex Trade Way Up In Seattle

Flickr Photo/Michael Scheltgen (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A new study finds spending on the underground sex trade in Seattle has gone way up. Of the cities studied, Seattle is one of only two where spending increased, and it’s not pennies: $50 million in 2003 to $112 million in 2007.

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Prostitution Charges
10:32 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Washington Legislature Passes Bill To Allow Human Trafficking Victims To Clear Record

Flickr Photo/publik16 (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A new human trafficking bill passed the state Legislature Monday that will allow victims who were forced into prostitution to clear their records of prostitution charges.

Removing one conviction has already been the law for a couple years. But now, a victim is able to get more than one charge vacated.

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Closure Averted
12:48 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Harborview Clinics To Stay Open

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.
Flickr Photo/camknows (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Harborview Medical Center said Wednesday it will not be closing its primary care clinics after all.

Last December, the hospital had announced its intent to relocate those services into the community. But the prospect of shutting down the clinics located at Harborview's main hospital disturbed many staff and patients.

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Sex Trafficking
9:31 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Moving Past 'The Life': New Bill Would Allow Erasing Prostitution Convictions From Record

Flickr Photo/Brian

Those caught up in it call it "the life." It usually involves a pimp, coercion and prostitution.

For young victims of sex trafficking, getting out of that life and building a new one can be a monumental task. Having a rap sheet for prostitution makes it  incredibly difficult to apply for jobs, or housing, or school — the things it takes to start over.

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Unemployment
3:30 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Two Years Later: A Layoff Survivor Describes The New Atmosphere

Flickr Photo/Thomas Hawk

Back in May 2011, Laura was in the habit of whispering at work – even when talking about the weather. She was a manager at T-Mobile at a time when the company was suffering deep layoffs.

She was a “layoff survivor” – her colleagues were losing their jobs, workloads were shifting, and she was in fear of her own position. She declined to release her full name.

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Health Care
11:42 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Harborview Considers Closing Some Clinics For Poor

Harborview staff say they were told that several clinics could be closed later next year. Among Harborview's clinics for are the women's clinic, the pediatric clinic and the international clinic.
Credit uwmedicine.org

“Abruptly and brutally.”

That’s how Dr. Abe Bergman described the announcement by administrators to close some of the clinics at Harborview Medical Center. He said staff members were told that some of the primary care clinics housed at the hospital would close in July.

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The Record's Picks
11:51 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Pulled From The Archives: Race, The Cosmos, And Seattle Music

Emily Nuckols and Kala Armijo at Red Light in Seattle. Seattle artist Mackelmore sparked a thrift store revival.
KUOW Photo/Sara Lerner

As the year winds down, The Record looks back at some of our favorite KUOW stories from 2013 and beyond.

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Mexico
10:02 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Daughter Of Jailed Renton Woman: Mom Is Political Prisoner In Mexico

Nestora Salgado's daughter Griselda Rodriguez wipes away tears as she talks to the crowd in Seattle Tuesday.
Alex Garland

Community activist Nestora Salgado lives in Renton, normally.

She grew up in Olinala, Mexico, and over the last few years she’s been returning frequently and getting involved in the community – so involved that she ended up running a legal community police force. Mexican law allows indigenous communities to form such groups.

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Referendum 74 Anniversary
2:24 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage Anniversary An Economic Boost For Washington

Kevin Fullen and Myke Smith, of Renton, were customers of wedding planner Jenny Harding. In the last year she has seen a boom in same-sex marriages.
New Chapter Weddings/Malcolm Smith

Before gay marriage was legalized in Washington state, wedding planner Jenny Harding organized about two same-sex weddings a year.

Last year? Sixteen. Three were out of state, from California, Oregon and Vermont (where same-sex marriage is also legal).

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Labor And Industries
8:49 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Wilcox Farms Fined For Serious Violations Long Before Silo Collapse

Wilcox Farms, where a man was buried under tons of corn on Monday when a silo gave way, was cited for six violations last summer that could have put workers in serious danger, according to inspection reports.

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