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

Eclipse image by Rajah Bose

Whether in the path of totality or not, the solar eclipse brought a memorable experience to our reporters across the Northwest. They sent us their audio postcards from Olympia, Spokane and Prosser, Washington, and Portland and Durkee, Oregon.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The Washington State Department of Transportation will activate its emergency operations center on Monday morning in case solar eclipse traffic turns horrible. In Oregon, state and county emergency coordination centers were activated on Thursday.

Insitu

Two Air National Guard reconnaissance planes were called in Wednesday by the National Interagency Fire Center to help detect and map wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. The twin engine, turboprop RC-26 aircraft will be temporarily based at Spokane's Fairchild Air Force Base and at Eugene's airport. In the near future, their assignment may be carried out by unmanned aircraft. 

Oban Society

A World War II veteran from the Inland Northwest traveled to a village in rural Japan Tuesday to personally return a "good luck flag" he picked up from the body of a fallen Japanese soldier on the Pacific island of Saipan in the summer of 1944.

"Taking the flag kind of bothered me because it is so special,” said Marvin Strombo, 93.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

With hordes of eclipse chasers expected to pull out their phones to share the memorable experience next week, wireless carriers are deploying temporary mobile cell towers in Oregon and Idaho to boost capacity in the path of the solar eclipse.

Paul Brennan / PIxabay - tinyurl.com/y94fplps

The clock is ticking. We're just days away from the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21. But we'll learn sooner than that whether huge crowds cause traffic gridlock in the eclipse's path.

One central Oregon city is not taking any chances.

Emily Washines

In the mid-19th century, Emily Washines' ancestors in the Yakama tribe fought the U.S. Army for four years in what became known as the Yakama—or Yakima—Indian War. She said few people in the Pacific Northwest today know much if anything about the bloody conflict.

Portland State University

This month's total solar eclipse might be the most-studied disappearance of the sun ever, thanks in part to legions of citizen scientists from the Northwest and beyond.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The cluster of unmanned aircraft systems companies in the Columbia River Gorge led one online journal to dub the rural region east of Portland, "Dronetown, USA."

Northwest News Network

  Our staff checks in from around the Northwest with tales of hazy days and record-breaking heat.

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