Tom Banse

Regional Reporter

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 beyond the reach of email.


Prisoners Help Restoration Effort
6:44 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Prison Inmates Enlisted To Grow Threatened Plants

Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem is growing Kincaid's Lupine and Golden Paintbrush, flowers relied upon by the rare Fender's Blue and Taylor's Checkerspot butterflies.
Captain Chad Naugle ODOC

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 2:06 pm

In a growing number of Northwest prisons, inmates are rearing endangered plants, butterflies, turtles and frogs for release in the wild.

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Idaho's Seaport
5:11 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Barges Running Aground At Lewiston As Dredging Controversy Drags On

Lewiston's port hugs the left bank of this aerial view of the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. Clarkston is at lower right.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 3:03 pm

Lewiston, Idaho has had unusual bragging rights for the past 40 years. It's the farthest inland seaport on the West Coast -- 465 miles upriver from the Pacific Ocean.

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Drones in the Northwest Skies
9:40 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

FAA Takes Light Hand In Enforcing Flight Rules For Drones

A fleet of drones used for aerial photography by Portland-based Skyris Imaging

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 5:56 pm

Commercial drones are taking to the Northwest skies even though the rules aren't clear.

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double its footprint
3:13 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Delta Air Lines Resets Bar Higher For Pacific Northwest Hub

Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines are partners - and rivals - at Sea-Tac Airport.

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 9:01 pm

Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said his company wants to nearly double its footprint at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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use of drones
3:15 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

State Drone Regulations Not Cleared For Liftoff In Olympia

File photo of an Aeryon Scout UAV in flight

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 4:06 pm

The Washington governor's office unveiled draft rules for government use of drones Monday. It would replace legislation that Democrat Jay Inslee vetoed earlier this year.

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detected off the West Coast
3:50 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Traces Of Fukushima Radioactivity Detected In West Coast Waters

File photo of the Oregon coast at Lincoln City. Seawater samples taken directly at the shore along the Oregon and Washington coasts this year have all tested negative for traces of Fukushima radiation.

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 8:03 am

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute announced Monday that trace amounts of radioactivity from Fukushima have been detected off the West Coast.

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3:28 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Chilly Water No Deterrent To Growing Numbers Of 'Wild Swimmers'

Swimmers enter the water for a mid-October, one mile "excursion" at Alki Beach in Seattle.

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 10:22 am

More swimmers in the Northwest are trading the comfort of the pool for a workout in open water.

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growing market for scorched trees
1:10 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Timber Salvage After 2014 Wildfires Begins In Fits And Starts

A small amount of salvage logging took place in 2014 along roads and around a campground in the Mount Adams Ranger District after the 2012 Cascade Creek wildfire.

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 10:13 am

Wildfires scorched nearly 1.5 million acres in Oregon, Washington and Idaho this year. And with increased demand for timber from lumber mills, there is a growing market for scorched trees.

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not been retrofitted with extra fencing
2:40 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Death Of Child Thrown Off Bridge Renews Attention On Fencing

File photo of Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport, Oregon.

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 5:01 pm

A woman from the central Oregon Coast was arraigned in Lincoln County Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon on charges of murder and manslaughter in the death of her son.

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feral horse herds
3:10 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Northwest Tribes Take Steps To Corral Growing Wild Horse Population

Horses in the road are a real danger on the Warm Springs reservation.

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 10:09 pm

Growing populations of wild horses in the inland Northwest are creating headaches for federal land managers. Wild and feral horse herds overrun tribal lands in our region too.

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celebrate World Tripe Day
5:27 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Do You Have The Guts To Celebrate World Tripe Day?

Chef Matt Bennett came up with Cowboy Calamari for World Tripe Day.

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 8:07 pm

An Oregon chef is asking if you have the guts to celebrate World Tripe Day on Friday.

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big effects on weather
3:32 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Long-Range Forecast Calls For Warmer, Drier Winter

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 3:37 pm

The long-range weather outlook from the Climate Prediction Center gives high probabilities for a warmer and drier than average winter across the Northwest.

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Autumn is off to an unusually mild start
3:02 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Unusually Mild Start To Autumn Across Northwest

This graphic shows the temperature departure from average for the past 30 days.

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 8:54 am

From a temperature standpoint, autumn is off to an unusually mild start across the Northwest.

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Job growth stalled during September
4:07 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Job Growth Stalls In Washington And Oregon During September

The unemployment rate in Washington rose one-tenth of a point to 5.7 percent in September.

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 3:19 pm

Job growth stalled during September in Oregon and Washington according to new numbers from the respective state employment departments.

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4:27 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Cross-time Photos From Northwest Lookouts Reveal Big Changes

John Marshall photographs the Cascade Creek burn on the slopes of Mount Adams.

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 5:37 pm

The old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words." That was the reaction of a U.S. Forest Service researcher when he rediscovered a trove of landscape panoramas called the Osborne Panoramas.

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civil and commercial uses
3:49 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Military Drone Maker in Columbia River Gorge Sees Great Potential In Civil Uses

File photo of a ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle made by Insitu Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing.

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 3:34 pm

Managers at Insitu, a military drone maker headquartered in Bingen, Washington, say they see great potential for civil and commercial uses for their best known aircraft.

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flight tests over private property
2:59 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Amazon Asks FAA For Permission To Test Aerial Delivery Drones Near Seattle has asked the FAA for permission to test drones outdoors.

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 2:50 pm

When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled plans for aerial drone delivery of packages last year, many observers dismissed the concept as science fiction or pie-in-the-sky.

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training and paperwork are now in progress
2:58 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Oregon, Washington Hope To Use Drones For Wildfire Recon In 2015

File photo of a ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 9:12 pm

Both Oregon and Washington’s state forestry departments had hoped to try out drones this summer to provide reconnaissance at wildfire scenes. But neither firefighting agency managed to pull it off. Now both plan to try again next year.

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launched its first flight
4:13 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Eastern Oregon Drone Test Range Chalks Up First Flight

First test flight on Pendleton UAS range utilized an Aeryon Scout quadcopter

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 3:32 pm

A drone test range in northeastern Oregon launched its first flight Tuesday.

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"If you can't beat 'em, eat ‘em"
4:30 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

'If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em' Say Diners Noshing On Invasive Species

Crayfish stuffed piquillo pepper, sorrel smoked salmon puff, wild turkey terrine with blackberry mustard, dandelion spanakopita and wild board bratwurst.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:50 pm

It may be difficult to eat our way out of the invasive species problem, but it can be satisfying to try.

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