Will James | KNKX

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. 

Ways to Connect

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Federal investigators have begun a two-day hearing into last year's fatal Amtrak Cascades derailment in Pierce County.

Courtesy of Henry Waymack Design

Tacoma resident Halley Knigge was in her kitchen Sunday when she checked Facebook and saw friends posting about flyers stuck to utility poles around the city. 

"Keep America American," many of the flyers read. They included the phone number of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement tip hotline and urged residents to report people they suspect of being in the country illegally.

Will James / KNKX

Tacoma officials are sending a warning to protesters who have been camped outside the Northwest Detention Center for more than a week.

"Color block living" by Sheila Sund is licensed under CC by 2.0 https://bit.ly/2Iw9bmf

Four neighborhoods in Tacoma top a new list of the Seattle area's fastest-rising rents, according to a report that could intensify concerns about affordability in a city once viewed as a housing bargain.

Rents in central Tacoma rose nearly 10 percent over the past year to $1,591, putting it at the top of the list, according to the real-estate company Zillow.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington advocates have filed a lawsuit on behalf of three mothers separated from their children as part of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration.

Will James / KNKX

Washington is leading a coalition of states planning to sue the Trump administration over its policy of separating children from parents who are detained while crossing illegally or seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Will James / KNKX

Washington doctors say they plan to do more to prevent gun-related injuries and deaths, including asking patients whether they own guns and screening them for risk of using a gun in suicide.

Courtesy of the Point Defiance AIDS Projects

Pierce County Council members are likely to vote Tuesday to ban sites where people can inject drugs under medical supervision. 

So-called "safe injection sites" are operating in Canada and under consideration by a few U.S. cities as a way to stem a tide of opioid overdoses.

The sites are part of a strategy called "harm reduction," which acknowledges drug users are going to use and looks for ways to prevent them from dying, even while their addiction remains active.

Will James / KNKX

Expanding access to higher education is a core part of the mission at the University of Washington Tacoma, which had its commencement Monday. 

Many of the campus' students commute from nearby communities, 58 percent have parents without college degrees, and 73 percent receive financial aid.

Will James / KNKX

When Rose Crumb first launched a volunteer hospice in Port Angeles, doctors labeled her and her compatriots "the death squad." 

That was 40 years ago, when medical professionals rarely talked with their patients about dying.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Seattle has more unsheltered people than New York, a city nearly 12 times its size, according to the most recent homelessness data from each city.

Will James / KNKX

Leaders of Pierce County and nine of its cities lined up inside a cavernous data center Tuesday and came just short of making a direct appeal for companies to flee Seattle's taxes for the South Sound. 

Will James / KNKX

Residents of the Tiki Apartments in Tacoma say they know their complex is run down. 

But they say it's served as a refuge for renters who struggle to find apartments elsewhere, including people with disabilities, fixed incomes, or criminal records. 

Will James / KNKX

Phil Elverum's wife died in a spare room on the second floor of their house in Anacortes, Wash.

After that day in 2016, Elverum made an effort to cut the room off from the rest of the house. He threw open its lone window and closed the door, ceding the space to the rain, leaves, and birds that flew in. 

"I just wanted to air it out, neturalize the room," he said, "and let whatever thoughts and feelings were in here dissipate."

Then, one day, he opened the door again. 

"Gig Harbor, Washington State, USA" by Rick Obst is licensed under CC by 2.0 https://bit.ly/2Iuu4mr

All around the Puget Sound region, growing cities are scrambling to make room for new residents. 

But leaders in Gig Harbor, home to some of the region's wealthiest ZIP codes, are moving in the opposite direction, prompting a warning from state officials concerned about efforts to restrict home construction there. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council passed a "head tax" on businesses in a 9-0 vote Monday, following weeks of debate that dominated city politics and came down to last-minute negotiations over the weekend. 

Will James / KNKX

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the City Council's proposal to tax businesses, in its current form, does not meet her "requirements."

Durkan has the power to veto the hotly-debated "head tax," though she has not said whether she would do so.

The tax would charge Seattle's largest companies $500 per employee to fund solutions to the city's housing crisis. It's estimated to raise $75 million per year.

In a statement, she indicated she wants changes to the current legislation. She raised questions about the size of the tax and how long it should last.

Will James / KNKX

Health officials have linked two cases of Hepatitis C to a nurse in a Pierce County emergency room who may have shared needles with unwitting patients, hospital officials said Monday.

Courtesy of Tiki Tenants Organizing Committee

A mass eviction from a Tacoma apartment complex is causing city leaders to take a hard look at tenant protections that have lagged behind Seattle's. 

The Puget Sound Region Prepares For May Day

Apr 26, 2018
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Local leaders, police and businesses around the Puget Sound region are preparing for May Day on Tuesday.

May Day is International Workers Day. In Seattle and other Northwest cities, it has become a day of protest for immigrant and workers rights where demonstrations are routinely quite large and have in recent years turned violent.

Will James / KNKX

Sometimes, lifting families out of homelessness requires a large investment of government time and money.

Other times, it just requires a light touch at a critical moment. 

"ST Light Rail Train" by VeloBusDriver is licensed under CC by 2.0 https://bit.ly/2IONSN9

An unbroken chain of light rail is going to connect Seattle and Tacoma by the year 2030, if all goes according to Sound Transit leaders' plans. 

They're meeting with residents in Tacoma and Federal Way this week to discuss a crucial, final link in that route.

Will James / KNKX

Tacoma City Council members voted Tuesday to allow up to six legal tent cities or other temporary shelters to open throughout the city.

That could give Tacoma a total of seven legal encampments, even more than Seattle's six.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Local leaders across Washington have launched legal campaigns against companies that make and distribute opioid painkillers, saying false advertising is partially to blame for widespread addiction. 

But for one of the counties hit hardest by the crisis, the decision to sue is a matter of debate and a question of resources. 

Will James / KNKX

Leaders in Tacoma could allow up to six legal tent cities to open. The move is part of a yearlong shift in the way city officials manage homelessness.

"Last light on Mt. Rainier, seen from Orting, WA" by ingawh is licensed under CC by 2.0 https://bit.ly/2pOJOo3

Traffic is one of the most visible consequences of our region’s population growth.

It’s getting worse around Seattle. It’s getting worse around Tacoma.

But it's also getting worse in the farthest reaches of rural Pierce County. And local leaders say it's more than a mere inconvenience. 

Will James / KNKX

 


To stand outside Bob’s Bar-B-Q Pit in Tacoma is to see a gentrification wave just beginning to curl.

 

A block away, a new artisanal coffee shop is brewing. Down the street, a developer plans to build an apartment building with studios renting for up to $1,400 a month.

 

But to walk inside Bob’s is to walk into the past.

 

Will James / KNKX

Crowds have cleared since this weekend's rallies against gun violence, but students leading local demonstrations say they have no intention of stopping.

Darryl Dyck / AP Photo/The Canadian Press

Pierce County leaders took a first step Monday toward banning safe-injection sites in unincorporated parts of the county. 

A committee of the County Council voted 2-1 to send the proposal to the full council, where members could take a final vote as early as May. 

Courtesy of the city of Olympia

Leaders in Olympia are trying to adapt to changing demographics and make room for an influx of new residents, but their plan is rankling some homeowners.

City leaders are considering changes to zoning across roughly two-thirds of the city that would allow for more of what they call "missing middle" housing in single-family neighborhoods.

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