Bellamy Pailthorp

Environment Reporter

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat from the Seattle offices of KNKX Public Radio News, where she has worked since 1999. She also hosts and produces the weekly segment, The Weather With Cliff Mass, which airs every Friday. She holds a Masters in journalism from New York's Columbia University, where she completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting in 2006 mid-career during her stint on KNKX’s Business and Labor Beat from 2000-2012.

From 1989-98 she lived in Berlin, Germany freelancing for NPR and working as a bi-lingual producer for Deutsche Welle TV after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1989 for a project on theater studies and communist history. She holds a Bachelors’ degree in German language and literature from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. (Yes, she is fluent in German.)

She strives to tell memorable stories about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Character-driven narratives of exploration and innovation excite her. 

Outside work, she practices and instructs yoga, walks half marathons with friends, backpacks with her husband and extended family, reads and watches fiction with nieces, enjoys tasting new foods and admiring all kinds of animals -- especially her two house cats, who often remind her she should spend more time sitting on the couch with them.

Ways to Connect

Art James / Courtesy Art James

Cloudy weather and milder temperatures have come back to the Puget Sound region recently.  We’ll have partly cloudy skies, no rain and temperatures in the mid-70s this weekend.

But come Monday, skies will clear over most of the region, just in time for the total eclipse.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

We often hear about development pressure changing communities all over the region. Case in point: A popular farm-themed shopping destination in Bothell might soon be replaced by condos.

The family that owns Bothell Country Village has a lucrative offer from a developer. It’s not a done deal yet. Some residents and shop-owners are still looking to save this neighborhood icon.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

One day nearly a decade ago, a Canadian-born colleague came knocking at cartographer Stefan Freelan’s door.

Bert Webber, a professor of Geography and Environmental Social Sciences at the time, was trying to spread the word about a newly-named body of water. He asked Freelan to help him by making a map of the Salish Sea.

Wade Harris / Courtesy of Wade Harris

Seattle's weather is about to revert to its more normal, pleasantly mild and occasionally moist summer pattern.

Rain in the weekend forecast should wash out the gritty smoke from British Columbia's wildfires that has plagued the region for more than a week now. The precipitation will also put an end to the long dry spell the city has experienced.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The success of solar power could mean it becomes less attractive for home users in the future. Utilities are reaching the threshold where, under state law, they can be less generous to solar customers.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

You may have heard that new technologies in the clean energy sector are creating new jobs. But what does that really mean?

Researchers at the University of Washington have a $3 million grant to support emerging careers where energy science is combined with big data.  

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Bert Webber is the man who coined the phrase "Salish Sea." He is a professor emeritus from Huxley College at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

Webber says while it may be easy to see the Salish Sea as separate waterways, those waterways actually make up one ecosystem that goes beyond political borders.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for western Washington and Oregon Wednesday and said the highs in Seattle on Thursday could hit 95 (35 Celsius) while Portland could reach 105 (40.5 Celsius).
Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Seattle’s above-normal temperatures have been tempered somewhat by a grimy layer of smoke from British Columbia’s wildfires that moved in Tuesday. The influx has made air quality in and around the Emerald City worse than Beijing’s.

Even as the air cools a bit over the weekend, the temperatures will stay far above normal, with the haze dissipating only somewhat and quite slowly, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Residents of Western Washington and British Columbia likely recognize bodies of water like Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia. However, many people don’t realize that what were once perceived as individual waterways are now widely considered one ecosystem. That body of water is called the Salish Sea.

Erin Hennessey / KNKX

A small storm of drizzle spoiled Seattle’s chances to break what KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass viewed as a significant record.

Thursday morning’s precipitation was just enough to be considered a "trace" of rain and cancel the chance for a rain-free July. But there is still a chance to continue a dry-day streak.

Kathy Willens / AP Photo

You’ve heard of the 206, the 425 and maybe even the 360.  Add 564 to that list.

Western Washington is getting a new area code. It kicks in on Saturday, when new dialing requirements also take effect.    

Elaine Thompson / AP

A major earthquake-preparedness drill takes place this Saturday in Seattle. It’s called “Hubs and Spokes” and this time, the emphasis is on emergency communications.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The failure of the legislature to pass a capital budget leaves Washington’s state forests with an increasing risk of catastrophic wildfires. 

The state department of Natural Resources says a recent survey showed it has about 2.7 million acres of forests in Washington that are in poor health.

Credit Kevin Kniestedt

This story originally aired on March 18, 2017. 

More than 23,000 people lost their lives following the 1985 eruption of Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia. In response, the United States Geological Survey and the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance created the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, to help prevent other volcanic eruptions from becoming disasters.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Drizzle and light showers fell in a few places this week, especially in the south end of the Puget Sound region. But for most of the region, including Seattle, rain has been missing for more than a month.

KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says there’s a good chance the emerald city will break a record with this dry spell.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

King County’s largest wastewater treatment facility has been operating on the edge of disaster for years and it’s ill-equipped to deal with the growing population in the region.

That’s one of the conclusions from the independent review of February’s catastrophic failure at the West Point sewage treatment plant in Seattle’s Discovery Park.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Despite a lot of pressure from activists, Seattle will not be divesting from fossil fuel investments in its $2.5 billion pension fund. 

The board that oversees the pension fund for city employees met Thursday morning and faced a room full of protestors holding signs urging the city to take its money out of energy investments that pollute the air.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Edmonds is well-known as the first city in the state to ban disposable plastic bags. Now it’s taking concrete steps to more aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

If you have been enjoying the warm sunny skies of Seattle lately, you’re not alone. So many of us revel in the long stretches of dry weather that are so favorable for outdoor activities.

This weekend will offer more of that wonderful weather, with just a few morning clouds that should burn off in the afternoons.

Ted S. Warren, file / AP Photo

Washingtonians are parsing the state budget passed last week by a divided legislature. It adds $1.8 billion for basic education over the next two years.  A big chunk of that comes from the closure of a so-called “extractive fuel” loophole, which is one of several new policies that many environmentally progressive groups like.   

John Zilavy

Imagine walking for three days to make a statement about a cause you care for deeply. That’s what people joining the "Walk to Protect & Restore our Salish Sea" will do this weekend. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Among the many wonders at the Ballard Locks is a fish ladder. The ladder encourages threatened salmon to swim up or downstream, to keep them safe from boats passing through the canal.

Courtesy City Of Seattle

Seattle’s Emergency Management Office is partnering with the city’s Department of Neighborhoods to make all community garden P-Patches into official gathering places during an emergency.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

“The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle” — so goes the corny Perry Como TV tune from the late '60s. But it’s still true nearly 50 years on. The weekend forecast includes more of that great weather – only sullied by a few clouds coming in from the ocean over the weekend. And the blue skies will be back in time for July 4th festivities.  

He says Friday’s weather will be “perfect – sunny, absolutely dry, highs in the lower 80s. So, it’s going to be the warmest day of the weekend – so, really wonderful.”

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

A small non-profit group is trying to preserve some of Belltown’s unique character. It has just closed comments on a community visioning project for the Seattle neighborhood. Members of the group hope to preserve historic sites and create economic vitality.  

Wade Harris / Courtesy of Wade Harris

If you like heat, this is the weekend for you in the Pacific Northwest. Just in time for the official start of summer, temperatures are about to zoom all the way up to near 90 degrees.

“And I think some people will see record temperatures this weekend,” said KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass, who was quick to clarify that these would only be for a single day in question, which are "not such a big deal. “

Courtesy Columbia Legal Services

Getting out of prison or jail might sound like an event to celebrate.

But it can actually be one of the most challenging times for people attempting to re-enter normal life. That’s why a local non-profit invited members of the public to an event this week at the Seattle Public Library, for what they call a “re-entry simulation.”

Pamela Sampel / Courtesy Pamela Sampel

Do you know the term "Juneuary"?  That’s what many people living in the Pacific Northwest call this time of year because of a combination of factors that make the month of June less than spring-like. There’s the typical low cloud cover, shared with the rest of the coast all the way into Northern California and often referred to as "June Gloom." And then there are periods of heavy rain that sometimes hit unexpectedly. That’s what happened on Thursday, when an atmospheric river hit the coast. (You can learn more about that by listening to the podcast of this conversation.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A new way of getting juvenile salmon out to the ocean is the latest innovation at the Ballard Locks in Seattle. The Army Corps of Engineers, which runs the facility, says the fish have safer passage with the new design. It’s one of the things they’ll be highlighting this weekend at a Fisheries Day going on Saturday.  

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent over the last few decades to clean up toxic pollution from the region’s industrial past.

In Tacoma, a prime spot for manufacturing and processing is the waterfront area in the center of town.

The City of Destiny no longer suffers from the notorious “Tacoma aroma” of its past. But some of the less-visible cleanup work is vulnerable because of budget cuts before the state legislature.

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