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.

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legendary champion of tribal treaty rights
3:48 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Tribal Treaty Rights Champion Billy Frank Jr. Dead At Age 83

Billy Frank Jr. at the Elwha Dam removal ceremony in 2011.
Katie Campbell KCTS

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 8:56 am

 Billy Frank Jr., a legendary champion of tribal treaty rights and Northwest salmon restoration, died Monday. He was 83 years old.

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magma is on the rise
3:42 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Magma Rising Beneath Mount St. Helens, But No Eruption Imminent

File photo of Mount St. Helens

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 5:22 pm

Scientists monitoring Mount St. Helens confirmed Wednesday that magma is on the rise and "re-pressurizing" the volcano in southwest Washington.

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it is not too late to say thank you
3:17 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Japanese Retrace Path Of History-Making Castaways, 180 Years Later

File photo of the 'Monument to the Three Kichis,' at Fort Vancouver, Washington.
nsub1 Flickr

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 5:48 pm

After 180 years, it is not too late to say thank you. That is what a Japanese delegation did last week as it retraced the history-making path of three  castaways to the Makah Indian Reservation on the Washington coast.

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blocked migratory fish
3:43 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Tribes Optimistic About Returning Salmon To Upper Columbia Basin

File photo. An aerial view of Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River, the border between Oregon and Idaho.

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:32 pm

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades.

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Environment
9:20 am
Sat April 19, 2014

First Nuisance Sea Lions Of 2014 Killed At Bonneville Dam

File photo of a California sea lion consuming a salmon just below the Columbia River's Bonneville Dam.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:13 pm

State wildlife officers trapped and killed six salmon-chomping sea lions at Bonneville Dam earlier this week.

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NPR Story
9:26 am
Fri April 18, 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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Gone Fishing ...
10:09 pm
Wed April 9, 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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how long can you hold your breath
4:13 pm
Wed April 2, 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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jump in the death toll Friday
12:31 pm
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 Wed December 10, 2014 1:03 pm

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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Slide Update
1:31 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Dogs Most Effective Search Tool As Landslide Death Toll Mounts

Saturday’s landslide crashed down on a rural neighborhood of fisherman’s cabins, farm houses and regular homes.
Snohomish County Sheriffs Office

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:36 am

The official death toll from Saturday’s massive landslide near Oso, Washington rose from 14 to 16 Tuesday night.

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Washington State Slide Search Continues
6:50 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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Ongoing movement of the huge landslide
3:17 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Ongoing Slide Movement Hampers Search For Victims In Snohomish County

Aerial photo of the mudslide in Snohomish County, Wash.
Office of the Governor Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 4:22 pm

Ongoing movement of the huge landslide that crashed down on a rural Northwest Washington neighborhood on Saturday is hampering the search for more victims.

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cigarettes smoked in Washington
3:01 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Study: Cigarette Tax Evasion Sky-High In Washington, Idaho A Big Supplier

Tax Foundation/Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 9:23 pm

Nearly half of the cigarettes smoked in Washington went untaxed by the state according to an estimate from a new study by two think tanks.

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Environment
10:26 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Spring Outlook Looks Warm For Coastal Northwest, 'Normal' Spring Inland

The National Weather Service's outlook calls for above-normal temperatures along the West Coast.
NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 3:47 pm

The spring seasonal outlook from the National Weather Service calls for a warmer-than-average spring west of the Cascades and normal temperatures and rainfall across the inland Northwest.

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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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