Will “murdered” tree prod Seattle City Council to pass long-promised protections?

As Seattle became the decade’s fastest-growing big city in America, residents have seen more tree canopy disappear to make room for new apartments and houses to accommodate the growing population. Now, activists and residents are pushing for the Seattle City Council to create a new tree ordinance that will protect more trees. But even as the movement gains momentum and there’s increasing evidence that trees help combat climate change and water pollution, the Seattle City Council is weighing these efforts against an ever-increasing need for housing.

Undocumented workers, a crucial cog in the economy, are left in poverty amid coronavirus

Undocumented workers, especially in the transportation, construction and service industries, have been hit hard by the coronavirus but have been left out of stimulus efforts. This is despite paying more than $300 million in state and local taxes in Washington State, and many of their employers contributing to the unemployment relief fund. While some cities and states have launched their own relief efforts, there has been pushback on social media and Fox News commentators have demanded to know why undocumented workers should receive taxpayer help.

As COVID-19 upends wildland firefighting, Pacific Northwest forests poised for conflagration

With nearly triple the usual number of wildfires this year, Washington and Oregon are set to have the worst summer fire forecasts in the nation. And it’s not the only one. As a result of COVID-19, volunteer firefighting numbers are down and those who did sign up face increased vulnerability to the virus. The pandemic has curtailed preventative measures, leading agencies across the country to plan for fast, low-headcount efforts to fight fires.

Do high-rises built from wood guarantee climate benefits?

Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is being hailed as a more sustainable building alternative to steel and concrete, but some experts say that the issue is more complicated. Despite no solid proof that CLT will help slow climate change, building firms and plants see it as a weapon against climate change while experts worry that the health of forests, which are already suffering from warmer temperatures and more frequent wildfires, could be at risk.

Birth parents fight to visit kids in foster system during pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has translated into severe unhappiness for parents of children taken into Washington State’s foster-care system who no longer are able in most cases to have in-person contact with their children. Court rulings from around the state are in conflict, and parents who lost their kids to the foster care system — most because they were simply too poor to adequately care for them — are bringing legal challenges to Gov. Jay Inslee’s emergency stay-at-home proclamation’s effect on their ability to have regular in-person visits.

Covering Your Climate: A Source Toolbox for Climate Change Reporting in the Emerald Corridor

As part of the “Covering Your Climate: The Emerald Corridor” special report, we’ve collected a wide range of resources to help reporters track down climate stories throughout the Pacific Northwest. You’ll find an array of government, academic and NGO links for Oregon, including Portland; Washington, including Seattle; and British Columbia, including Vancouver, as well as from regional, national and international resources.

Covering Your Climate: Pacific Northwest Rides Adaptation Wave

The final entry in our multi-week “Covering Your Climate: The Emerald Corridor” special report explores how the Pacific Northwest is adapting to climate change, whether it’s new approaches to working the land, changing critical infrastructure or rethinking our mindset. Read this last tipsheet, plus check out our earlier reports on climate mitigation and on climate impacts, plus our stage-setting backgrounder and a reporter’s resource toolkit.