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Milee Ballweg, 20, sits on the steps of a church in the University District where she sleeps just after 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Milee Ballweg sleeps on the steps of a church in Seattle’s University District.

She’s 20, her hair is blonde tinged with pink, and she wears ripped jeans and a Pokémon T-shirt. She sleeps wrapped in gray packing blankets that cover her face.

Linus Sticklin, age 7, wowed the crowd with his knowledge of natural disasters.
KUOW Photo/Kristin Leong

A catastrophe-focused crowd turned out last night for KUOW’s Disaster Night! — a quiz show about natural disasters (and disaster movies), at the Royal Room in Columbia City. 

UPDATE (July 19, 8:41 a.m. PT) — One person died as a result of the Substation Fire east of The Dalles, Oregon, and county officials have called in state help in determining whether someone intentionally set the blaze.

UPDATED COVERAGE: Man died trying to protect neighboring land from Substation Fire.

Seattle's Chinatown-International District
Flickr Photo/Curtis Cronn (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9hVGFD

The Chinatown International District will soon become a light rail hub in Seattle. Lines from Bellevue (2023), West Seattle (2030) and Ballard (2035) are planned to connect here. 

For almost 80 years, the Charles E. Nelson House stood abandoned and alone, tucked into a hollow on the high plains of Oregon. A clapboard farmhouse, sun-bleached, empty, leaning against the wind. It was widely considered the most photographed abandoned farmstead in Oregon.

Now, it's gone.

The iconic house near The Dalles burned to the ground in the Substation Fire, which had burned more than 36,000 acres and left one person dead as of this story's publishing on Wednesday.

The Oregon Health Authority says there are higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria in the water at Nye Beach in Lincoln County and Sunset Bay State Park Beach in Coos County.

The bacteria can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes and upper respiratory infections — especially among children and older people.

Increased pathogens and fecal levels come from shore and inland sources like sewer overflows, failing septic systems and animal waste.

Sam Farrazaino poses for a portrait on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in his office at Equinox Studios in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Georgetown is only five miles south of downtown Seattle, but it feels like another city. Instead of gleaming skyscrapers, this is a neighborhood of modest wood homes and low-slung warehouses that shudder every time a plane roars away from nearby Boeing Field. Michigan Avenue slices through the community, a path for the trucks that rumble between the interstate and the factories on East Marginal Way.


City Light Superintendent Gordon Vickery with a prototype AMC Gremlin electric car, 1973
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/UYLihW

Tesla tried to go mass market last year by starting production on the Model 3 – price tag starting at $35,000.

It didn’t go well. 

UPDATE (July 18, 12:44 p.m.) — A fast-growing wildfire east of The Dalles, Oregon, that forced evacuations Tuesday night and Wednesday morning is expected to make a push to the south and east due to dangerous fire conditions in the area, fire officials said. 

UPDATED COVERAGE:  Substation Fire may have been human-caused, officials say.

Three decades after Oregon blazed a trail by enacting statewide sanctuary laws, voters will have a say in repealing them this fall.

The past eight months have been a whirlwind of victories for Tarra Simmons—an honors law school graduate with a criminal past.

Edmonds City Council President Mike Nelson demonstrates how he uses a safe for his pistol.
KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

The city of Edmonds could soon fine people who don't lock up their firearms.

The ordinance is being proposed by a gun owner.


Plans for a wooden high-rise in downtown Portland are no more.

Developers behind a 12-story building project known as Framework say the project has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. They cited inflation, escalating construction costs and market changes.

For the first time in 40 years, there are Oregon silverspot butterflies on Saddle Mountain.

With containers full of caterpillars loaded painstakingly into backpacks, a team of biologists, zookeepers and park rangers winds its way up an increasingly steep trail. They're headed for the few, isolated meadows capable of supporting the endangered butterfly.

Carmen Best, center, smiles while standing with her husband, left, and Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, right, during a press conference on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

After public uproar following the initial selection for the city's new head of police, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Tuesday morning that Interim Police Chief Carmen Best would be taking over the role permanently.

The legend and theorizing about Northwest skyjacker D.B. Cooper just won’t die. A new documentary about the unsolved 1971 hijacking introduces a new twist to the tale. It suggests we might have been looking for D.B. Cooper and his loot in the wrong place for all these years.

In response to the #MeToo movement, the Washington state Senate will create a new human resources officer position to investigate complaints of harassment and other workplace misconduct, replacing a previous system of “facilitators” who served as a go-to resource for victims.

KUOW PHOTO/Casey Martin

Edmonds Lutheran Church is installing a new home on their property for people experiencing homelessness. 

It’s a rectangular, 260-square-foot studio apartment with water and electricity. 


More Hall on the University of Washington campus, left, and Damage of 7.1 earthquake in Mexico, September 2017.
University of Washington/http://pcad.lib.washington.edu/image/745/ & Credit Courtesy of Miyamoto International

When the next major earthquake roils our region, University of Washington’s civil engineers and seismic experts will not be safe.


Klamathon Fire Nears End As Lightning Starts New Fires

Jul 15, 2018

Summer lightning returned to the skies over Southern Oregon and Northern California on Sunday, just as Klamathon Fire managers were preparing to declare that fire 100 percent contained.

Cal Fire reported new fires, likely from lightning down strikes, in Siskiyou County. The Steamboat Fire in the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area near Montague quickly spread to dozens of acres. Officials closed the wildlife area to the public.

"Deliberate use of fire, as well as control of wildfires, must be an integral part of the planning process.” — Thomas C. Nelson, Deputy Forest Service Chief, in 1979.

The U.S. government spent a record $2.9 billion fighting wildfires last year. This year is shaping up to be another costly fire season. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Yolany Padilla hugs her 6-year-old son Jelsin after being reunited on Saturday, July 14, 2018, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Tap or click on the first image to see more.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

A mother and child from Honduras, forced apart for nearly two months, are the first family of asylum seekers to be reunited in the Northwest.

Yolany Padilla, an asylum seeker separated from her 6-year-old son as part of the Trump Administration's 'zero tolerance' policy, wipes her face as she sits at a news conference Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Yolany Padilla and her six-year-old son, Jelsin, crossed the border into Texas in May after fleeing Honduras, one of the world's most violent nations. But after turning themselves in to immigration officials and being detained separately, Padilla hasn't seen her son in two months, she told reporters in Seattle on Wednesday. 


Federal lawmakers are making a move to change the Endangered Species Act.  On Thursday, members of the U.S. House announced legislation they say will “modernize” one of the country’s seminal environmental laws, originally passed in 1973.

Members of the House Western Caucus say the nine pieces of legislation are designed to streamline the administration of the Endangered Species Act, provide more local control and protect property rights.

Photo courtesy of the Joyful Heart Foundation/http://www.endthebacklog.org/

People who have been through a sexual assault often find that the first hospital they go to can’t help them. Many hospitals across the country don’t have evidence gathering kits or nurses trained to offer care and support.

That may soon change because of a bipartisan bill just introduced in Congress. 

A walk in Seattle with my father, who was born a slave

Jul 12, 2018
Horace Cayton Jr., the author of Long Old Road, as an adult.
Library of Congress

Horace Cayton was an African-American sociologist born in Seattle in 1903. His father was born a slave; his mother was the daughter of the first black U.S. Congressman. This is an excerpt from his autobiography, The Long Old Road, published in 1963.

Seattle’s first black cop meets a killer over checkers

Jul 12, 2018
Horace Cayton was the first black deputy in Seattle.
KUOW Illustration/Teo Popescu

Horace Cayton was an African-American sociologist born in Seattle in 1903. His father was born a slave; his mother was the daughter of the first black U.S. Congressman. This is an excerpt from his autobiography, The Long Old Road, published in 1963.

Horace Cayton Jr., center, as an adult. Cayton worked many jobs before becoming an esteemed sociologist in Chicago — longshoreman and Seattle's first black deputy, among others.
Library of Congress

Horace Cayton was an African-American sociologist born in Seattle in 1903. His father was born a slave; his mother was the daughter of the first black U.S. Congressman. This is an excerpt from his autobiography, "The Long Old Road", published in 1963.

Regardless of where you live in the Northwest, someone was there before you…but who?

From Bend, Oregon, to Ellensburg, Washington, there is a fire weather watch Friday for hot temperatures, low humidity and breezy weather.

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