Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

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.  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.

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.


6:01 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Oregon, Washington Seek To Juice Electric Car Sales With More Incentives

File photo of a Nissan Leaf recharging in Tumwater, Washington.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

A coalition in Oregon and the Democratic governor of Washington want to juice sales of electric cars by providing more state incentives.

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Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor
3:51 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Washington Unemployment Rate Ticks Up Slightly Amidst Steady Hiring

Washington and Oregon's latest unemployment numbers offer a paradox.

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Environment and Planning
4:32 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

$2 Million In Taxpayer Dollars At Risk In Snake River Dredging Showdown

Some river cruise ships can no longer call at this cruise ship dock in Clarkston because of accumulated silt.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is making a high-stakes bet that it will prevail in a pending lawsuit over Snake River dredging.

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Science and Technology
4:11 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

What Would You Do With A Few Seconds Warning Of An Earthquake?

A user of a ShakeAlert warning receives a message like this on the screen of his computer.

The new federal budget sent to the president's desk over the weekend includes $5 million for earthquake early warning along the West Coast. With this funding, an alert system should begin to roll out regionally next year.

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Crime, Law and Justice
5:44 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Prison Inmates Enlisted To Rear Threatened Plants And Animals

Inmate Joseph Njonge at work in the Stafford Creek Corrections Center conservation nursery.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

The work of rearing threatened plants and animals for restoration to the wild takes time and patience and it is labor intensive. In Oregon and Washington, a growing population doing that work is inmates.

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Religion and Spirituality
5:15 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Tribes Object To Forced Opening Of 'Sacred Mountain' To Public

Rattlesnake Mountain as seen from the Horn Rapids area near Richland, Washington.
Umptanum Wikimedia

The Yakama Nation and neighboring tribes are strongly objecting to a Congressional move to offer public access to the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain, a place tribal members consider sacred.

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Science and Technology
7:42 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Frustrated Amazon Ponders Taking Drone Delivery Testing Abroad

Amazon Prime Air would use unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver packages within 30 minutes or less .

A new letter from Amazon to the Federal Aviation Administration indicates the e-commerce giant is getting frustrated with the wait for approval to test package delivery drones.

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Government and Politics
3:27 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Head Of Pilots Group Concerned Toy Drone Flyers Don't Know Rules

File photo of a DJI Phantom 1 quadcopter in flight
Nevit Dilmen Wikimedia

New data from the FAA shows the frequency of close calls between manned aircraft and small drones is soaring.

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Disasters and Accidents
5:57 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Pilots In Northwest Reporting More 'Near Misses' With Drones

File photo. There have been a number of close calls between manned aircraft and small drones in Northwest skies.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Judging from holiday advertising, lots of teenagers and grownups will find a drone under the Christmas tree this year. But the increasing affordability and popularity of remotely piloted airplanes and choppers is leading to conflict in Northwest skies.

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3:03 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

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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