Will James

South Sound Reporter

Will James covers the South Sound region, as well as housing and immigration issues, for KNKX. He came to the station from Newsday in his home state of New York. 

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"Moving day for Russell" by Scott Hingst is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2Ft6FfX

State Farm Insurance is clearing out of Tacoma by the end of the year, the company said Thursday, meaning some 1,400 jobs will leave the city's downtown as local leaders name attracting employers as a top priority. 

"Old Buildings With Adverts In Tacoma" by Bradley Gordon is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2mth1EP

Tacoma's city council this week approved a property tax break of about $250,000 a year for a developer of market-rate apartments that are expected to rent for $1,200 to $1,600 a month. 

It's a common practice in the city, despite a growing need for less expensive housing. Tacoma had among the nation's the fastest-rising rents last year, according to the listing service RENTCafe. 

Courtesy of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department

UPDATED Monday, Jan. 8, at 4:11 P.M. with details about the second suspect's arrest.

 

"20040812 11 Tacoma, WA" by David Wilson is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2CK2ygY

Members of the Puget Sound Regional Council are starting work on a three-decade plan called Vision 2050, which will guide development across King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties.

For the council, made up of representatives from the four counties and dozens of cities, the challenge is getting everyone on the same page as they continue to face a tidal wave of population growth. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Tacoma officials are considering limits on any future expansion of the Northwest Detention Center, the region's only detention center for immigrants facing deportation. 

Will James / KNKX

Scattered across Pierce County, and every corner of America, are people who fall through safety nets for the elderly, disabled, and those suffering from mental illness.

They struggle to care for themselves, but also aren't getting long-term medical care or social services. 

Some try to quietly manage mental illness or physical disabilities on their own. Others are elderly and isolated. Without friends and family looking after them, they deteriorate in their homes.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

(This story is being updated throughout the day. The most recent update is from Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 12:15 p.m.)

An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a new route hurtled off an overpass Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below. A spokeswoman for Washington State Patrol said there are three confirmed fatalities and multiple people injured.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Pierce County is losing one quarter of its 64 psychiatric hospital beds for a year, as a provider relocates from its rented space at Western State Hospital. 

"Tacoma" by jc.winkler is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2AGBPk2

Flooding, wildfires, heat waves, air pollution: No one expects these anticipated impacts of climate change to respect city and county borders.

That's why local leaders plan to begin pooling resources and ideas next year as they brace for a potentially harsher future in the Puget Sound region. 

Will James / KNKX

Seattle and King County officials fired back at the Trump administration Friday, saying they won't drop local law enforcement policies designed to protect undocumented immigrants despite pressure from the U.S. Justice Department.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Pierce County, claiming jail inmates with mental illness are treated poorly and denied access to care. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The City of Tacoma's legal defense fund for immigrants facing deportation is struggling to attract donors. 

Just under $2,000 has flowed in from 21 donors since the fund's creation in late October.

Will James / KNKX

Puget Sound Energy is close to getting all the official okays it needs build a liquefied natural gas plant at the Port of Tacoma.

Environmental activists and neighbors have fought for about two years to halt the project. They say their last real chance lies with a local clean-air permitting process. 

Will James / KNKX

Washington's attorney general is suing Uber over the company's handling of a data breach that affected nearly 11,000 drivers in the state.

"Mt. Rainier from Orting, WA" by Lana_aka_BADGRL is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2Bslcqu

The nation's opioid addiction epidemic is a challenge for small, rural communities, where the fatal impacts can overwhelm local resources and treatment may be lacking. 

Courtesy of the City of Puyallup, the City of Milton, and the City of Fircrest

Cities across Pierce County are getting new leadership after this month’s election, as voters sweep five incumbent mayors out of office.

Mayors lost their reelection bids in Puyallup, Gig Harbor, Milton, Orting, and Fircrest. 

Will James / KNKX

Burien has elected its first two Latino City Council members, after a hard-fought race that revolved around immigration, crime, and the city's identity.

Will James / KNKX

If you go to the base of Point Defiance in Tacoma and look east, you'll see a finger of earth jutting into Puget Sound. 

It formed as toxic slag spilled from a copper smelter during the city's industrial heyday. 

For years, it was a foreboding sliver of black, glassy material. Today, workers and machines roam the peninsula as they transform it into a grassy park with Puget Sound views.

Will James / KNKX

The makeup of Burien's City Council remains up in the air as races remain too close to call Wednesday afternoon.

Will James / KNKX

Former City Councilwoman Victoria Woodards leads local architect Jim Merritt by about four percentage points in Tacoma's mayoral race.

"I-5 northbound from S Delin Street" by SounderBruce is licensed under CC by 2.0 https://tinyurl.com/ya4snvqd

People driving through Tacoma on Saturday evening say they saw a banner with the phrase "white lives matter" unfurled over I-5. 

It's the latest in a string of white nationalist messages reported in Pierce County.

Will James / KNKX

As soon as Seattle's next mayor takes office, she'll be confronted with a scene like the one on the western slope of Beacon Hill. 

Dozens of tents and shelters, some made of tarps and rugs, rise from the blackberry brambles along I-90. Scattered among them are mattresses, bicycles, dolls, and piles of garbage. 

This is home to some of the estimated 3,900 Seattle residents living outside. 

Will James / KNKX

Voters in Shelton are facing a big question this election: Should the city completely change its form of government?

This community on the Olympic Peninsula is the last city in Washington state led by a three-member commission. 

A proposition on the ballot in the Nov. 7 election would expand the local government to a seven-member City Council. 

Courtesy of the New Hope Resource Center

Homelessness is one of the thorniest local election issues in Western Washington this year, even -- or especially -- in the small Pierce County city of Puyallup. 

Will James / KNKX

Why would Amazon build its second headquarters just 30 miles from its first headquarters in Seattle? 

If you ask leaders in Tacoma, it's because their city has everything the retail giant loves about the Pacific Northwest, plus plenty of room to grow. 

Will James / KNKX

This year's election in Burien is about more than local issues like potholes and streetlights.

Will James / KNKX

Leaders in Tacoma say they’re attacking homelessness on two fronts.

Since the summer, they have spent millions of dollars on new services while also cracking down on people sleeping outside.

Five months into what officials describe as an emergency plan, they're now talking about doubling down on both strategies next year. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it conducted a major operation last week targeting so-called “sanctuary cities," including Seattle.

Focusing enforcement on certain cities because of their local laws would represent a new tactic for immigration authorities, according to immigrant advocates and local government leaders.

But details of the operation raise questions about whether it really differed from normal enforcement activities in the Northwest. 

Courtesy of Quinn Thomas

King County’s population is growing by about 100 people a day, and these new residents overwhelmingly come from out of state.

But despite Seattle region's tech-industry boom, many of them are coming for reasons other than work, according to a new survey aimed at painting a clearer picture of new Seattleites. 

"Rich Passage 1 in Bremerton" by SounderBruce is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2wnedMD

One of the starkest challenges facing South Sound leaders is how to spare residents a punishing commute to Seattle.

With transit improvements years away, some officials are looking to the sea instead. 

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