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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With Washington forcing a record number of traumatized foster youth into overnight hotel stays that further destabilize them — at a tremendous cost to taxpayers — lawmakers in Olympia have sent the governor a budget that seems unlikely to solve the problem. Legislators last week approved nearly $16 million in new funding to try to stem the hotel-overnight crisis. The new money has the potential to restore 26 spots for foster youth lost earlier this year at one Seattle facility, Ryther, and create perhaps more than 70 new ones. Yet, it might not be enough to fix the system: The department racked up more than 1,500 hotel overnights for almost 300 foster children in the most recent year measured, ending in August 2019. Ryther, a children’s mental-health agency, offers an example of how lawmakers’ efforts may come up short.
The latest entry in our ongoing “Covering Your Climate: The Emerald Corridor” special report looks at what the Pacific Northwest is doing to mitigate climate change, including reducing carbon emissions, limiting sprawl and congestion, pushing energy efficiency and pursuing carbon sequestration. Read the new tipsheet, plus check out our earlier report on climate impacts and our opening backgrounder.
Washington state lawmakers have just passed a budget that pays for a collaboration between the Washington
State Patrol and Washington State University to find out whether state troopers exercise racial bias when they decide to search motorists. Additional funding will aim to improve the diversity of the State Patrol workforce. Critics aren’t convinced that the steps the Legislature and the State Patrol are taking will be enough to address implicit bias.