Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from 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 found online and heard on-air 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.

Ways to Connect

Waymo

Seven different companies have notified Washington's Department of Licensing that they plan to test self-driving vehicles on roads in the state. Oregon transportation officials have gotten notifications from two other companies.

Chris Lehman

Washington drivers who are thinking about buying an electric car would be wise to get down to a dealership in the next two weeks. That's because a valuable tax break disappears at month's end.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

In farm fields from the Willamette Valley to the Kittitas Valley and east to Idaho, energy developers want to plant a new crop: commercial solar arrays. But a surge in utility-scale solar farm applications is generating pushback.

Chief Petty Officer John Matuska / U.S. Coast Guard

Specially trained rescuers have managed to free a whale that was tangled in fishing gear off the Washington coast. But they say the prognosis for the young gray whale is "guarded."

Schwede66 - tinyurl.com/ycfsul7z

Portland may become the first city in the Pacific Northwest to require all owners of old brick buildings to make earthquake safety upgrades. But being on the leading edge is not a comfortable place.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

It’s no secret that the aviation industry is facing a shortage of airline pilots. But that isn’t the only aviation career grappling with a labor shortage. Aircraft mechanics and flight simulator technicians are also in high demand.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Before there was an Oregon, Idaho and Washington state, there was the Oregon Country. Early settlers and pioneers voted to form a provisional territorial government 175 years ago this week.  The vote was close and featured arguments that may sound surprisingly familiar today.

The pivotal decision will be celebrated Saturday as Founders Day at the spot where it happened in Marion County.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Two  projects launched in April aim to help bees in the Pacific Northwest, at a time when pesticides, parasites and loss of habitat make survival harder for both wild bumble bees and domesticated honeybees. 

Christian Mehlführer / https://bit.ly/2HpW5Hb

You could almost start a zoo with all of the exotic creatures seized by animal control officers in Olympia about three weeks ago. Now the owners of an Oregon-based private wildlife center are petitioning to get their animals back. 

Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

One of the diciest points in an airline merger is consolidating computer systems. That moment arrives Tuesday night for Alaska Airlines and its former West Coast rival Virgin America.

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