Alec Cowan is a producer for Soundside. His interests have brought many eclectic stories to the program, and his segments gravitate toward history, technology, arts and culture, and the environment. After reporting a handful of stories aboard Puget Sound, he's proud to be KUOW's unofficial "boat guy."
Prior to joining Soundside, Alec wore many hats at KUOW. He was a producer for The Record with Bill Radke, and was the producer of Primed season two and three. He also reported and produced an episode of SoundQs detailing how prohibition forever changed Seattle policing and assisted with reporting a breakthrough cold case solved with the use of genetic genealogy.
Before joining KUOW Alec worked in NPR's Story Lab, where he helped pilot the Louder Than A Riot podcast on hip-hop and mass incarceration and assisted in producing a story on volunteerism in Iraq for Rough Translation. Originally from Grand Junction, Colorado, his roots in the Northwest begin in Eugene, where he studied English and philosophy at the University of Oregon and worked as a news reporter for NPR member station KLCC. He is likely neglecting his saxophone, growing book collection, and expanding personal project list in favor of boosting his online Xbox ranking instead.
Languages Spoken: English
A dramatic scene unfolded at Seattle City Hall earlier this week as several protesters were arrested for disrupting a city council meeting on Tuesday. The protesters came to demand more support for hundreds of asylum-seekers from countries including Venezuela, Angola and Congo who have been sheltering at a Tukwila church and elsewhere in King County.
Prestige TV or Hollywood legal dramas might inform the image: loose tie, crinkled suits, bags under the eyes… public defenders are stressed out, overworked and undercompensated. But something pop culture tends to overlook is how stretching these attorneys so thin affects everyday people caught up in the justice system.
Safe parking programs have gained traction in recent years – there are now an estimated dozen lots available across the state, many sponsored by churches. They’re responding to an often invisible problem: people who sleep in their vehicles, with nowhere to legally park and access a restroom. But identifying the need – and ramping up services – are two different challenges.
Dancers say working in Washington strip clubs carries a lot of risks, from the physical danger of aggressive customers to the thin financial margins that put dancers at an increased risk of sex trafficking. To try and mitigate some of these issues, Washington legislators are considering SB 6105 – what some are calling the “strippers' bill of rights.”
In a report released last week, the Washington Department of Natural Resources says the initial sparks came from a security light mounted on an Inland Power and Light pole. Those sparks ignited nearby brush and the fire quickly raged out of control. The Gray Fire burned 10,000 acres last August, forcing thousands to evacuate and destroying hundreds of homes.
What does it mean for land to be “wild?” It’s a question that federal land managers have thought about since the Wilderness Act of 1964, which defined wilderness as areas “...untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Our national parks and public lands have visitor centers, fire lookouts, and other approved "installations" that help us enjoy the wild safely. But just what defines an installation has become the center of a recent debate between rock climbers and conservationists.
As homelessness grows around the region, communities are struggling to keep up with a spreading encampment crisis. In Bremerton, the largest city in Kitsap County, growing encampments have forced the city to reconcile with a lack of available shelter space throughout the county.
Last month the first-ever local outbreak of Candida auris, a deadly fungus, was reported in Washington State. So far, four cases of infection from the fungus have been linked to Kindred Hospital in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. Cases of C. auris -- which was first identified in Japan in 2009 -- have risen throughout the United States since 2016.
Fifty years ago, a landmark federal court case brought against Washington state reaffirmed the treaty rights of Native Americans to fish in traditional waters and shorelines. From culvert rehab to dam removal, 1974's "Boldt Decision" has expanded far beyond fishing to legally empower tribes' ability to protect natural resources.
Dogs share so much of their lives with humans and can develop the same health conditions we do, like dementia or diabetes. Those similarities drove researchers to wonder if our medical science can help dogs live longer — and if maybe, our furry friends could tell us something about how we age, too.