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 where there are no radios.

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below 7 percent for the first time since 2008
3:53 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Unemployment Rate Holds Steady In Washington, Dips In Oregon

Washington Employment Security Department

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 3:31 pm

Washington state's unemployment rate held steady in February at 6.4 percent according to fresh numbers from the state Employment Security Department.

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Columbia River
3:52 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Tribes Push To Restore Salmon To Upper Columbia River

A pre-conference tour of Grand Coulee Dam on Monday kicked off a conversation about restoring salmon to the Upper Columbia Basin.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 4:00 pm

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.

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cross-border water treaty
4:31 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Canada, U.S. Disagree Over Value of Columbia River Treaty Benefits

File photo of the Columbia River's Chief Joseph Dam near Bridgeport, Washington. The dam is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 7:12 pm

British Columbia has staked out a negotiating position on a cross-border water treaty that puts it at odds with public utilities and ratepayers in the U.S. Northwest.

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looming cutbacks
3:09 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Some States Working To Negate Federal Food Stamp Cutbacks

File photo of a woman using her EBT card in Portland, Ore., to purchase food.
Brian Duss Bread for the World

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:47 pm

In Olympia, Washington policymakers are pondering whether to make an end run around looming cutbacks in the federally-funded food stamp program.

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2014 Winter Olympics
3:00 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Persevering Olympian Finds 'Life Changing' Welcome In Peru

Peruvians surround Olympian Roberto Carcelen at the national soccer stadium in Lima after he delivered a pep talk.
Roberto Carcelen

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 5:44 pm

Despite finishing dead last in his race in Sochi, a Peruvian-American Olympic cross country skier is looking forward to a big welcome when he returns home to Seattle this weekend.

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three years since a huge tsunami
5:13 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Three Years Later, Where Did Japanese Tsunami Debris Go?

File photo of a fishing skiff found on the Washington coast in May 2013.
Eyewitness photo Wash. Marine Debris Task Force

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 4:26 pm

It's been exactly three years since a huge tsunami in March 2011 took thousands of lives in Japan and washed whole villages out to sea.

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from Idaho, Oregon and Washington
6:23 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Five Athletes With Northwest Ties In Sochi For Paralympic Winter Games

Paralyzed veteran Sean Halsted trained for Sochi in Sun Valley last winter.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 8:57 pm

American and European politicians are boycotting the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi to protest Russian moves in Ukraine. But athletes with physical disabilities from Idaho, Oregon and Washington plan to compete in the Olympic host city as scheduled starting this weekend.

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Two teams want to re-enact Evel Knievel's jump
2:44 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

One Anniversary, Two Teams Trying To Recreate Evel Knievel Canyon Jump

The rocket that Scott Record, left, and Scott Truax plan to use to recreate Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon jump is about 60 percent complete.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:21 am

Two teams want to re-enact Evel Knievel's famous jump over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho.

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the winter Olympics in Sochi
4:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

From Inline Skates To Ice Skates To The Olympics

Youth inline skaters line up to practice sprint starts at Pattison's West in Federal Way, Wash.
Tom Banse/Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:33 am

At the winter Olympics in Sochi, the U.S. has collected no medals so far in speedskating, an uncharacteristic result. The Americans' best remaining hope for hardware rests with short track speedskater J.R. Celski and the men's relay team.

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Winter Olympics in Russia
3:19 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

How They Fared: Whitman Student Skis First Race At Olympics

Medals Ceremony in Olympic Park at Sochi, Russia.
Sarah Brunson U.S. Ski Team

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:29 pm

A college ski racer from Sun Valley, Idaho says she is "immensely relieved" just to finish her first Winter Olympic race in one piece.

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