OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Republicans have released documents that show Governor Chris Gregoire appointed a state senator to a $92,000 a year job –- despite concerns that the senator wasn’t qualified for the position. This is just the latest development in a political drama touched off by the appointment.

PORTLAND - Native American legends collected on the Pacific Northwest coast speak of battles between supernatural beings that made the ground shake and caused great floods. Those stories can't tell us how often great earthquakes occur here or how high tsunami waves have reached. Now, researchers from Portland State University have found fresh evidence of tsunami waves more than 26-feet high that washed more than three miles inland.

CHELAN, Wash. – Moms and dads hoping to pack an apple in their children’s lunches might have to budget a bit more this year. That’s because even though the Northwest has seen a bumper crop in apples, elsewhere there’s a shortage.

The Northwest may have had a great season, but the Midwest and East’s apple crop got pummeled this year. That means there is more demand and increased prices for our region’s fruit, both for fresh eating and for juice and sauce.

Museum Opens At 'Cuckoo's Nest' Film Site

Oct 1, 2012

SALEM, Ore. - A 130-year-old mental institution might seem like an odd place for a museum. But historians and mental health advocates have fought to preserve and tell the Oregon State Hospital's long and sordid history.

Starting this month, the public can tour a section of the restored main hospital building which was featured in the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Dean Brooks probably knows more about the Oregon State Hospital than anyone else. He was the Superintendent of the Salem mental institution for more than 25 years.

MOSCOW, Idaho - The "world's most comprehensive collection" of opium smoking paraphernalia has a new home; it's at the University of Idaho. A writer and collector, originally from San Diego, donated the exquisite antiques.

It's taking weeks to carefully unpack and catalogue all the opium smoking implements and accessories. Collector Steven Martin estimates he donated at least 1,000 pieces... ceramic opium pipe bowls, ornamented heating lamps, traveling kits, scrapers, old photographs and mug shots.

Latinos Barely Represented On Elected Bodies

Sep 24, 2012

WOODBURN, Ore. - Across the Northwest, Latinos make up nearly 12 percent of the population. Yet our research estimates only two percent of the region’s elected officials are Hispanic. It’s a disparity that voters like Jose Ramirez want to change.

“If someone can vote and doesn’t, well, that doesn’t do any good," he says. "You’re allowing others to vote in your place, to make different laws than you might like.”

Methodology: Counting Hispanic Surnames

Sep 24, 2012

So you may be wondering how we reached the conclusion that just 2 percent of the elected officials in the Northwest are Hispanic. Here's how we did it.

First, we collected the names of every elected state official ... every county commissioner, city councilor, mayor and school board member. We added in members of Congress for good measure. We came up with 8, 244 names.

Most City Councils In Northwest Have No Latinos

Sep 24, 2012

YAKIMA, Wash. – According to an estimate from a database of Hispanic officeholders in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, nearly nine out of 10 city councils across the Northwest have no Latino members.

One of the cities with no Latino representations is located in one of the most heavily Hispanic parts of our region, Yakima, Washington. And the ACLU is suing over the issue.

So why does the region's largest minority group have so little clout in the political arena?

Flip through the radio dial in Yakima and you’ll hear lots of Spanish.

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - According to a database of the Northwest's elected officials, just a handful of Latinos hold state office in the region. But this year, Latino voters have an edge for the first time in one of the Northwest’s major Hispanic hubs.

Redistricting gave them a majority. You might think the Latino candidate there would now be a shoo-in. Not so. Jessica Robinson has our latest story on why the region's largest minority group has so little clout in the political arena.

RICHLAND, Wash. - Latinos are a younger demographic. And younger people -- no matter what their ethnicity -- are much less likely to vote than older people. But one issue that’s energized many young Latinos is the DREAM Act. It would create a path to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.

At a "Rock the Vote" event in downtown Richland, Washington, an energetic band in tight-fitting jeans plays short sets between political stump speeches.

Twenty-one-year-old Josh Alano really came here to see his friends’ band, but politely listened to the speeches.

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