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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Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest
3:32 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

January Full Of Excitement, Stress For Northwest Olympic Hopefuls

Slalom specialist Hailey Duke of Sun Valley
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 3:15 pm

The month of January promises to serve up lots of excitement, angst and pressure for the many Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest.

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under a directive to buy alternative fuel vehicles
3:01 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Government Fleets Soon To Include More Fully-Electric Cars

Commuter Steve Marsh (left) of Kent, Wash. was honored Monday as the first in the nation to log 100,000 miles on an all-electric Nissan Leaf.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:57 pm

Just like consumers who postponed buying new cars during the recent recession, government agencies also put off vehicle replacements. But now procurement officers are getting busy again.

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more foreign guest workers this season
3:08 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Washington State Sees Big Jump In Use of Temporary Foreign Farmhands

File photo.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 5:38 pm

Northwest farmers hired significantly more foreign guest workers this season under a special immigration program.

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Pacific Coast states tsunami debris hotlines
2:43 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Washington Shuts Down Tsunami Marine Debris Hotline

This fishing skiff, found on the Makah Reservation in mid-May, is the most recent confirmed item of Japanese tsunami debris to wash ashore on the Washington Coast.
Eyewitness photo Wash. Marine Debris Task Force

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 4:11 pm

Washington and other Pacific Coast states set up tsunami debris reporting hotlines in the wake of the 2011 disaster in Japan.

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NPR Story
9:24 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Utilities Want To Offer Natural Gas Truck Refueling, Competitors Object

Clean Energy operates this CNG filling station near the airport in SeaTac, Wash.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:44 am

Trucking fleet operators in the Northwest are showing growing interest in filling up with natural gas instead of diesel.

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Boost logging and habitat restoration
3:36 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Groups Aim To Boost Logging, Restoration In Olympic National Forest

File photo of Mount Townsend Trail in the Olympic National Forest
Miguel Vieira Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:04 pm

Timber industry and environmental groups will make a stab at collaboration to boost both logging and habitat restoration in the Olympic National Forest.

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Sports
4:23 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Daredevils Woo Twin Falls To Recreate Evel Knievel Canyon Jump

Snake River Canyon. Evel Knievel’s 1974 launch ramp is the hump on the rim, top right.
Credit Tom Banse/Northwest News Network

  A passel of daredevils aims to succeed where the king of stunt performers once famously failed.  They want to attempt Evel Knievel's jump over the Snake River Canyon.  But first, one of the modern stuntmen has to secure the rights to both a launch and a landing spot on opposite sides of the canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho. That has the potential for another wreck in the making... a bureaucratic one.  

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NOAA suggest tsunami debris remains scattered
4:11 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Tsunami Debris Sightings Way Down, But May Spike Again

An Oregon beach cleanup earlier this month collected this possible tsunami debris.
Oregon Chapter of Surfrider Foundation

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:43 pm

Hotline calls and emails to report suspected Japanese tsunami debris have gone way down this year. But West Coast states are still keeping their guard up in case another wave of flotsam from the 2011 disaster washes up on our shores.

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NPR Story
7:15 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Spread Of Stink Bugs Alarms Growers, Scientists

The brown marmorated stink bug is 1-2 centimeters in length.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 10:27 am

A malodorous invasive bug has gone from a worry to a certifiable nuisance for some Northwest farmers and gardeners. The name of this insect is a mouthful: the brown marmorated stink bug.

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number of inquiries from veterans peak
3:15 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

U.S. Stepping Up Enforcement of Veterans' Reemployment Rights

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 9:11 am

An Army Reservist will collect back pay from an Everett, Wash. company accused of violating his reemployment rights.

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Alaska and Horizon will raise fees
3:45 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Alaska Airlines' Alliance With Delta Evolves Into 'Frenemies'

File photo of Alaska Airlines jets at SeaTac Airport.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 4:20 pm

You've probably heard this phrase before when discussing a messy relationship: "It's complicated." Those are the words the president of Alaska and Horizon airlines used Thursday to describe the state of the alliance between the Seattle-based carriers and Delta Air Lines.

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Bringing Back The Night
4:50 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Light Pollution Fight Advances One City And Park At A Time

This file photo taken from Queen Anne Hill shows that urban sky glow is evident in the night sky over Seattle.
Hiimniko Flickr

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 12:12 pm

Even though we have had clear skies this week, chances are you can't see the Milky Way at night because the glare from city lights washes out all but the brightest stars where most people live.

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Includes Medford Fire
3:36 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Eco-Saboteur Changes Plea To Guilty For Role In Firebombing Spree

Booking photo of Rebecca Rubin
Multnomah County Jail

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 3:11 pm

An eco-saboteur charged in a fire-bombing spree that spanned the American West changed her plea in federal court on Thursday.  Rebecca Rubin pled guilty to conspiracy and multiple counts of arson. 

Rubin is now 40 years old. When she was in her twenties, she joined a cell of radical environmentalists loosely affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

Federal investigators blame the shadowy cell for around 20 arsons spanning five Western states. The attacks happened between 1996 and 2001.

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NPR Story
4:51 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Federal Shutdown Could Foul Up Waterfowl Season Opener

groxie Flickr

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 6:12 pm

  The partial government shutdown is highlighting all the different ways our lives intersect with the federal government. One category of affected people you might not think of is hunters.

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Some Roads Open
3:56 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Government Shutdown Sows Confusion Among Motorists And Workers

Robert Ashworth Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 3:15 pm

The National Park Service Thursday tried to sort out confusion among motorists about the extent of the partial government shutdown: State highways crossing federal land remain open to thru traffic.

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Oil Train Regulation
4:25 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

BNSF Defends Safety Of Oil Trains To West Coast Regulators

David Gubler Wikimedia

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:35 pm

The biggest railroad in the Northwest forcefully defended the safety of oil trains Wednesday.

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Fire Season
6:20 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Wildfire Season Not Over Yet In Pacific Northwest

InciWeb

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:01 pm

Wildfire season is not over yet, despite the widespread rains of the last couple weeks.

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