Tom Banse

Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Before taking his current beat, Tom covered state government and the Washington Legislature for 12 years. During the early 1990s, he worked in the Seattle bureau of United Press International. He got his start in radio at WCAL–FM, a public station in southern Minnesota. Reared in Seattle, Tom graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in American Studies. In 1996, he spent two months reporting from Bonn and Berlin, Germany on an Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. In 1999, he traversed the globe to cover the Pacific Rim (Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan) on a Jefferson Fellowship.

When not sifting through press releases, listening to lobbyists, or driving lonely highways, Tom enjoys exploring the Olympic Peninsula backcountry and cooking dinner with his wife and friends. Tom's secret ambition is to take six months off work and travel to a faraway place where there are no radios.

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Oso Disaster
8:05 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Flags Lowered Across Washington To Honor Landslide Victims

Flags fly at half mast in front of Washington State Capitol.
Credit Northwest News Network Photo/Tom Banse

Flags are flying at half mast across Washington state this afternoon to honor victims of last month's deadly landslide.

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Erratic Cascade Snow
8:16 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Extended Season For Some Northwest Ski Areas, But Profits Scarce

Notice the brown hills around Sun Valley in this Dec. 29, 2013 file photo. Snowmaking allowed the famous resort to operate during the crucial holiday period.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 8:07 am

Thanks to late-season snow that fell at many area some Cascade ski areas will welcome skiers and snowboarders well past Easter.

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Environment
4:05 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Washington's Wildfire Season Officially Starts Tuesday

File photo. Wildfire season officially starts on April 15 in Washington state
InciWeb

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 5:35 pm

Wildfire season officially starts on April 15 in Washington state. Oregon and Idaho have rolling starts to fire precaution rules depending on local conditions.

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Environment
8:06 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Water Supply Rebounds Across Most of Northwest After March Storms

On this map of current snow conditions, blues and greens are good. Red, orange and yellow represent below average snowpack.
Northwest River Forecast Center

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 2:58 pm

Irrigators, hydropower dam operators and tugboat captains are sitting pretty across most of the Northwest according to the latest regional water supply forecast.

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Fishing Season
8:14 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Banner Summer On Tap For Ocean Salmon Fishing

File photo. Fisheries managers are expecting a banner year for ocean salmon fishing.
Michael B Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 6:23 pm

A federal fisheries management panel has approved what some charter captains are calling the best ocean fishing season in 20 years.

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Oso Disaster
7:09 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Inslee Happy With Federal Aid For Landslide, But Says It Won't 'Make People Whole'

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson visited the landslide site on April 6, 2014.
Office of the Governor

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 5:45 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says he's pleased with the federal disaster relief flowing to the state for last month's deadly landslide in Snohomish County.

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Tech Entrepreneur
6:04 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Central Washington Home To Nation's Biggest Bitcoin 'Mine,' More Coming

MegaBigPower CEO Dave Carlson inside North America's biggest bitcoin 'mine.'
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 2:47 pm

Here's a surprising fact: the largest bitcoin "mine" in North America is located on the outskirts of Wenatchee, Wash.

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Public Health
4:16 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Measles Outbreak In British Columbia Crosses Northern Border

File photo of the skin of a patient after three days of measles infection.
Heinz F. Eichenwald, MD CDC

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 3:36 pm

A big measles outbreak in British Columbia has crossed over the border into the American Northwest.

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Wildlife
4:06 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Northwest Researchers Document Whales Which Set New Breath-Hold Record

Satellite tag being attached to the dorsal fin of a Cuvier's beaked whale. The tagging arrow can be seen in the air as it detaches from the tag.
Erin Falcone Cascadia Research under NOAA permit 16111

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 5:21 pm

Think about how long you can hold your breath and then let this discovery blow your mind.

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Oso Mudslide
8:39 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Landslide Debris Field Has To Be Approached As Hazmat Scene

Homes destroyed by the Oso landslide are barely recognizable as such.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 6:10 pm

In a clearing on a hillside above one side of the mudflow, searchers in all sorts of uniforms and bright safety vests are picking through the crushed and barely recognizable remains of homes.

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Oso Devastation
7:21 am
Fri March 28, 2014

At The Landslide Front Line, Comparisons To Mount St. Helens Devastation

Members of the Washington Air National Guard wade through mud and debris looking for signs of missing persons.
Spc. Matthew Sissel, 122D PAOC Washington National Guard

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 7:11 am

A local fire chief is warning communities around the deadly landslide in northwest Washington to brace for a jump in the death toll Friday.

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Oso Tragedy
11:58 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Dogs Most Effective Search Tool As Landslide Death Toll Mounts

Search dog Stratus leaps through a debris field while working with a handler on the Oso mudslide site.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Rescuers are employing high tech electronics to help locate buried victims in the Oso mudslide. But old fashioned tools have actually worked best according to local fire chief Travis Hots.

“In the last three days, the most effective tool has been dogs and just our bare hands and shovels uncovering people," he says. "The dogs are the ones that are pinpointing a particular area to look. We’re looking and that’s how we’re finding people.”

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Oso Mudflow
8:55 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Rain Makes Slippery Search At Deadly Landslide More Complicated

Rain on Tuesday is complicating the search for victims of the landlside in Snohomish County.
Al Maguire Washington Dept. of Natural Resources

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:34 am

Light rain is falling on the valley north of Seattle Tuesday where hundreds of rescuers are still combing through debris from Saturday’s catastrophic landslide.

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Oso Mudflow
6:45 am
Wed March 26, 2014

High Tech Tools And Tricks Aid Search For Landslide Victims

A view of mud-covered SR 530 after Saturday's landslide that struck near Oso, Wash.
WSDOT Flickr

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:35 am

Rescuers are employing high technology tools and tricks to help locate victims buried deep under the muck and debris of Saturday’s landslide in Northwest Washington.

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Oso Mudslide
1:31 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

County Officials Say Stricken Neighborhood Made Aware Of Landslide Risk

Slide area map posted outside Darrington grocery store.
Credit KUOW Photo/Phyllis Fletcher

With the death toll expected to rise from Saturday’s catastrophic landslide near Oso, Snohomish County officials and emergency planners are starting to field hard questions about permitting home construction in a known landslide zone.

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