Monica Spain

Monica Spain / KNKX

It’s never been easier or more affordable to dress based on fashion trends seen on the runway. But the glut of inexpensive clothing from 'fast fashion' retailers is leaving another mark, and it’s not so beautiful.

It takes about 1,800 gallons of water to make one new pair of jeans. Caroline Fichter, a mom of two boys might not know the exact figures, but intuitively she does. That’s why she dropped off used clothes at Value Village in Seattle.


Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Changes in federal immigration policy are stirring up fear for many Washington immigrants. At the same time, state and local employees are unsure about their obligations when it comes to immigration enforcement. But now there are some new guidelines that should help clear up the confusion.

More than 11,000 households in King County rely on federal assistance to pay the rent. And that’s just in the county’s suburban cities and unincorporated areas – not including Seattle and Renton. Starting Wednesday, the waiting list to get this help – also known as Section 8 housing — will open up for only the second time since 2011.

Erin Hennessey / KNKX

Seattle’s bike-share program is in its final hours. The city tried to bail out the little-used system about a year ago, to the tune of $1.4 million. But in the end, there were not enough riders to make a go of it.

Cory Martinsen / Aberdeen High School

It’s going to be a noisy day in Olympia, Monday. The Capitol will be teeming with builders wielding hammers and nails; not inside the dome, but on the lawn outside.

Jared Eaton is a junior at Aberdeen High School. His construction class –what old-timers know as “shop” -- is one of more than 20 from across the state that has carted its handiwork within yards of the Capitol steps.

"There's two windows and a door, which makes it feel really cool," said Eaton.

Seattle Municipal Archives / FLICKR Creative Commons

Seattle’s Green Lake is one of eight city parks with buildings that are in what officials call a ‘desperate’ situation. After considering a remodel of the 1928 community center and the 1950s-era swimming pool, the city concluded the facilities are at the end of their useful life. That is raising questions about the best way to pay for their replacement.

Photo courtesy of Seattle Symphony

Imagine what it would be like to find yourself without a roof over your head. It’s not easy to put yourself in those shoes. But what if you could experience homelessness by hearing and feeling it in music — the uncertainty and trauma, the hope, and the question of how to solve it?

Ashley Gross / KNKX

A new secretary of housing and urban development, Ben Carson, was sworn this week. Officials who help low-income people get housing in Seattle say it’s not clear how the new HUD secretary’s policies might affect this area. But one thing is certain -- there are many more people asking for federal help with housing than will receive it.  

Tiny houses — sometimes known by their clunkier name — accessory dwelling units, have been a thing for more than a dozen years. Lately, we’ve heard more about them as an option to house homeless people. But tiny houses could be the answer for a lot of people.

This weekend it will be at Tacoma’s South Sound Sustainability Expo. It’s the first time the fair has featured a tiny house.

Tacoma Community House

 A 107-year-old Tacoma organization that started in the Hilltop neighborhood to help Italian and Irish immigrants adapt to their new home is still busy today.  At Tacoma Community House refugees and immigrants, along with volunteers, are never at a loss for words.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Some big changes are coming to Seattle’s University District. This week, the City Council is expected to pass controversial legislation to increase density in the neighborhood.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle has long had a big vision for bicyclists. Planners want to build out a network of protected lanes downtown that would buffer cyclists from traffic. And now there’s a push to accelerate the project.

Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien says the money is in the budget to build the separate bikes lanes, but the city is moving too slowly. That’s why he’s asking the Seattle Department of Transportation to come up with a list of what might be do-able now.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The city of Seattle severed ties with Wells Fargo bank earlier this month and other cities, including Davis, California are following suit. The money from those cities may be a drop in the bucket to the giant financial institution, but the divestment highlights a growing trend in the finance industry.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo


Seattle’s calendar is filled with demonstrations and rallies in response to recent actions by the Trump administration.

To the rest of the country, protests in this city are a given. While they might be predictable, they can play an important role in spreading political causes.

Paula Wissel / KNKX


The public will have a chance to weigh in on police reform and accountability in Seattle.

This week, the Seattle City Council will have its first look at a legislative package that features stronger civilian oversight.  

Courtesy Tacoma Public Library, Bowen Collection, TPL-39586.

Tacoma’s Prairie Line Trail has long been a Northwest landmark.  In the late 1800s, it was the terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad. The intercontinental railroad put Tacoma on the map, but the stories that pre-dated it are often forgotten.


Washington State Department of Transportation

 When a major thoroughfare closes for bad weather – like Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass – it's more than an inconvenience.  It might put a damper on your ski vacation, sure, but did you know many things headed to your store shelves might come to a screeching halt?

Most of the time, Washington-grown goods like hay, lentils and onions make their way in trucks across I-90 from Eastern Washington before they’re shipped all over the world. That’s just the export side. There's tons of stuff going the other direction.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Planning for the worst case scenario — that’s where the state’s largest school district finds itself as it prepares its budget for the next school year. Depending on what the Legislature does – or doesn’t do — cuts could be coming to the classroom.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

This school year, Seattle’s Garfield High School embarked on a new path. All students are now automatically placed in honors humanities classes, regardless of test scores. Some see this step toward “detracking” in public schools as a negative, because it eliminates gifted or accelerated programs.

Monica Spain / knkx

Washington is adopting the state’s first set of standards for teaching computer science in public schools. By adopting computer science standards, Washington is addressing the skills gap in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Right now, only one in 10 schools in the state offers classes that teach students more advanced computer skills that deal with problem solving, such as robotics, creating websites and writing software. Computer instruction has been considered an “extra” in schools, with funding coming from local levies.

Tacoma Fire Department

Firefighters and building inspectors spend their days working to prevent deadly fires like the one in an Oakland, California warehouse. That’s why, when tragedies like this strike, it hits especially close to home.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Tacoma police are grieving the loss of a fellow officer who was shot to death earlier this week. Officer Reginald "Jake" Gutierrez was responding to a suspected domestic violence case, one of the most common calls to service. 

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

The last few weeks of heavy rains in Western Washington means the possibility of landslides in certain areas is higher. But this is only the beginning of the rainy season.  

If you look at Seattle’s landslide maps, you can pinpoint thousands of properties that are prone to sliding.

Monica Spain / knkx

Earlier this year, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray formed an advisory group with the express goal of closing the academic achievement gap in Seattle Public Schools. The group’s recommendations were laid out Thursday at an event at Garfield High School.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

As Seattle works on increasing affordable housing for residents of all walks of life, some City Council members want to make sure low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors aren’t left out. Pending a Seattle City Council vote next week, the city budget will include money to do some groundwork on what exactly the needs of this community are.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Record numbers of Latinos are eligible to vote in this election. But low voter turnout has plagued this community across the U.S. And Washington state is no exception. 

Oskar Zambrano Méndez came to the U.S. with his parents when he was two years old.  He grew up in Fontana in the 1990s. At the time, it was a small, predominately white town in Southern California. And he says it was a town where people constantly reminded you of your place as a Mexican immigrant.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle Police are investigating after an officer fatally shot a man near the homeless encampment known as “The Jungle.” The shooting happened during a sweep of the area. Several agencies were working Tuesday to clear the last of the campers out of the notorious site.

Monica Spain / knkx

Legislation before the Seattle City Council has some people worried that city parks could turn into campgrounds for people without permanent housing. Councilmembers have received thousands of emails expressing concern that homeless encampments and neighborhood recreation don’t mix.

Brian Glanz / Flickr

When President Obama was elected, he made a promise to Native Americans that he would meet with tribal leaders every year. And he has kept that promise.

This week, for the eighth and final time, Northwest tribes will travel to Washington D.C. to meet with the highest levels of this administration.

Before President Obama, there weren’t any regular meetings like this on the White House calendar.

"edited005-1" by Michael Bentley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Even if your school days are long behind you, there’s something about this time of year that signals a return to routines. For families, high on the list is getting back to a set bed time.

According to Dr. Maida Chen of the University of Washington School of Medicine, you can get bed time under control by walking your kids through the new schedule.